Caught with Drugs? What You Need to Know


Posted on: 27 November 2019 by Emma Parsons

A drug offence is a serious crime under the QLD law. Governed by the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld) this legislation is the primary legislation in QLD that governs the most important offences related to dangerous drugs.

Whether you were caught with drugs entering into a festival, driving with or under the influence of drugs or supplying drugs to other individuals, being charged with a drug offence can have serious legal consequences and negative impacts on an individual’s life. Below, we explore the different types of drug offences that individuals can be charged with, the consequences of these crimes and the steps that an individual may need to take if charged.


Types of Drug Offences

There are a range of different drug offences in which an individual can be charged with. Each offence is different and will have different penalties according to the severity of the crime. Certain drug offences are more common than others and these include:

  • Drug Use and Administration
  • Drug Possession
  • Drug Supply and Trafficking
  • Drug Driving
    • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
  • Drug Importation and Exportation
  • Producing Dangerous Drugs
  • Permitting Premises to be Used for Drug Offences

Whilst these are the most common drug offences, it is not limited to these offences alone. There are other drug offences which pertain other serious consequences.



As certain drug offences are more severe than others, there will be different penalties accordingly.

- Drug Possession

Under the not relevant to QLD law, the maximum penalty for possession of a prohibited drug is a fine of  please double-check all references to penalties – possession can result in jail of up to 25 years.

- Drug Use and Administration

Similar to possession, the maximum penalties for drug use and administration is a fine of $2200 and/or imprisonment for 2 years. Administration of any prohibited drug to another person is illegal, even if they have provided consent.

- Supply of Dangerous Drug

Under a 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act, the definition of supply is broad, meaning that certain actions can constitute supply. It can include:

  • Giving, distributing and selling, administering or transporting drugs
  • Offering to give distribute, sell administer, transport or supply drugs or
  • Preparing to give, distribute, sell, administer, transport or supply drugs.

Illicit drugs are categorised into 3 categories, Schedule 1 Part 1 drugs, Schedule 1 Part 2 drugs and Schedule 2 drugs. If an individual is caught supplying Schedule 1 drugs, the penalties will be more severe. Factors including the quantity, type of drug and who you supply drugs to, can impact the penalty an individual may receive. The penalties for supply of drugs can range from a maximum life imprisonment, 15 years imprisonment, 20 years imprisonment to 25 years imprisonment.

- Drug Driving

Drug driving or driving under the influence of drugs has serious legal consequences. As there is zero tolerance for driving with a prohibited drug present in your system, any trace of an illicit drug can cause an individual to be penalised. The possible penalties for driving with a relevant drug present includes:

  • Disqualification from driving for between 1 to 9 months.
  • Fine up to please refer to penalty units.
  • Maximum term of imprisonment up to 3 months.

The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs include:

  • Immediate suspension of licence.
  • Disqualification from driving for 6 months or longer.
  • Fine up to  safer to just refer to penalty units rather than monetary amounts
  • Maximum term of imprisonment up to 9 months.


What to do If You Have Been Charged?

Being charged with a drug offence is serious and can have detrimental effects on an individual’s life. If you have been charged with a drug offence, the first step you should take is to get legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer. A criminal lawyer has extensive knowledge about the criminal law, meaning that they know the ins and out of the court process, defences and the law regarding drug offences.

An experienced criminal lawyer, like those from Harper Finch Lawyers can guide an individual through the process, ensuring that they understand the steps they may need to go through, including speaking to the police, going to court and speaking to the magistrate or judge. Further, as they have extensive knowledge on the law, a lawyer is able to produce defences and strategies specific for your case and aim to get you the best possible result.


Consider seeking the advice from a team of experienced criminal lawyers if you have been charged with a drug offence. Specialising in criminal and traffic law, our experienced team of lawyers at Harper Finch strives to provide all clients with the highest quality legal services and always work hard towards getting our clients the best result possible.

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