Methylamphetamine (commonly referred to as ice, meth or glass) is one of the purest forms of amphetamine, meaning it can have the strongest affect on users of the drug. Ice can lead to irritable and aggressive behaviour, psychosis and paranoia, and cause the user to act violently and irrationally. Coupled with driving or the use of weapons, ice users are some of the biggest threats to the community and public safety.
As a result, the NSW government has taken a strong stance against ice. The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Amendment Bill 2005 was passed through Parliament and enacted into the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 in 2006. The amendment made it a crime to sell, supply or display ice pipes (also known as crack pipes). Now not only is ice use, possession and supply illegal, but handling related instruments could also bring about criminal prosecution. Such an amendment shows the state government’s willingness to remove the drug and its impact from the community.
If you have been charged with possession of a prohibited drug, self-administration (or use) of a prohibited drug, manufacture or supply of a prohibited drug, or driving while under the influence of a prohibited drug, you should contact an experienced criminal lawyer immediately. Ice is a Schedule 1 prohibited substance, and falls within the category of “prohibited drugs”. If you have been charged with an ice offence, contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
According to statistics by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, incidents of drug offences in NSW have risen 9.7% per year between 2012 and 2014. In 2014 in Sydney alone, there were 7472 drug offence incidents, up from 7259 the previous year.
The NSW Recorded Crime Statistics (Quarterly update September 2014) show that possession and/or use of amphetamines has increased by 25.9% in the past 2 years in NSW.
Possession and/or use of cannabis is the dominant drug crime, with over 24,000 incidents in 2014 (compared to 6,429 for amphetamines). However, there were only 970 incidents of cannabis trafficking/dealing, compared to over 1,700 incidents of trafficking/dealing amphetamines. This figure suggests that while cannabis is the most commonly used drug in NSW, the police are making a more concerted effort at cracking down on amphetamine trafficking and dealing.
While different factors can affect the increased rate of amphetamine incidents in NSW, such as higher reporting and policy factors, it is clear that the NSW government is making a concentrated effort to minimise amphetamine use, possession and supply in the state.
Possession, use and supply of ice, as well as driving while under the influence of ice carry very large and very severe penalties. If you have been charged with a drug offence, particularly involving methylamphetamine, you should seek professional legal advice immediately.
If you have been charged with possession prohibited drugs under section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, or self-administration of prohibited drugs under section 12 of the Act, you may be prosecuted and found guilty of a summary offence and face a penalty of 20 penalty units ($2,220), a criminal conviction, and imprisonment for up to 2 years.
If you have been charged with possession or self-administration of a prohibited drug on numerous occasions, you may be liable to even heavier fines and longer prison sentences.
The law regarding possession is sometimes complex and difficult. While drugs found amongst your belongings, such as your car or clothes is deemed to be in your possession, the presumption may be rebutted if you can show that you honestly did not know the drugs were in your possession. This is often a difficult defence to raise. However, in situations where you share certain property with other people, there may be scope for the defence.
If you have been charged with possession or self-administration of ice, or any other prohibited drug, you should call an expert criminal defence lawyer immediately. They may be able to raise a defence in your matter, and help you avoid a criminal conviction. If you have a conviction recorded, you will find it difficult to find employment in certain fields in the future, as well as visit certain countries which have strict visitor policies such as the United States. An experienced criminal lawyer may be able to help you avoid a criminal conviction for possession and self-administration charges.
Under section 25 of the Act, it is an offence to supply a prohibited drug. Supply offences vary depending on the drug in question and the amount in a person’s possession or control. For methylamphetamine for example, 1.0gram is considered a small quantity, however, 3.0grams is considered a traffickable quantity. While supply of these two quantities are triable summarily, possession of 5.0grams is deemed to be an indictable quantity and even larger penalties apply.
If you are found with less than 3.0grams of methylamphetamine, you may be able to argue that it was for personal use, unless you were caught in the process of supplying the drug. However, if you are caught with 3.0grams or more – the traffickable quantity – you may be deemed to have that drug in your possession for the purposes of selling it (see section 29 of the Act).
Supplying prohibited drugs is an indictable offence and carries very serious penalties. Under section 32 of the Act, if you are charged with supplying a prohibited drug – but the amount is smaller than the commercial quantity – you may be liable to a fine of 2,000 penalty units, or 15 years imprisonment, or both.
However, if you have been found to supply or cultivate prohibited drugs in a commercial quantity (250grams for methylamphetamine), then you may be liable to a fine of 3,500 penalty units, or 20 years imprisonment, or both. If you have been charged with supplying or trafficking a large commercial quantity (1kilogram for methylamphetamine) you could be liable to a fine of 5,000 penalty units and life imprisonment.
As the quantity increases, so too does the penalty for supplying or trafficking prohibited drugs. While 1kilogram of ice is a large amount which carries the possibility of life in prison, supplying merely 1.0gram could cost you a very large fine and your freedom.
Supplying or trafficking a prohibited drug is a very serious crime, and you should call an expert criminal solicitor immediately if you have been charged with supplying ice or any other prohibited drug.
Under the Road Transport Act 2013, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle while there is an illicit drug present in your system (section 111), use or attempt to use a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs (section 112), or refuse to submit to a drug test when asked by police.
The penalties for these offences vary according to whether it is a first or subsequent offence. The following table illustrates the offence and maximum penalties:
|Max Penalty (Subsequent Offence)|
|Illicit drug in system||10 Penalty units and 6 months disqualification||20 Penalty units and 12 months disqualification|
|Driving under the influence||20 Penalty units, 9 months imprisonment, and 12 months disqualification||30 Penalty units, 12 months imprisonment, and 3 years disqualification|
|Refuse a drug test||30 Penalty units and 3 years disqualification||50 Penalty units, 18 months imprisonment, and 5 years disqualification|
While these penalties indicate the maximum penalties for first and subsequent offences, a continual disregard for the law and persistent breach can result in even heavier fines and lengthier prison sentences and time disqualified from driving.
There are also heavy penalties for being involved in an accident while under the influence of illicit drugs, and causing a fatality while driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs.
NSW police are becoming more equipped and more capable of drug testing. While drug and booze buses account for a large proportion of drug and alcohol testing, more regular police and undercover police cars are now equipped with drug testing equipment.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of an illicit drug, refusing a drug test or have been found to have drugs in your oral, blood or urine sample, you could be facing serious consequences. Losing your licence can often mean losing your ability to work. In some circumstances, you may also go to prison. If you have been charged with a drug driving offence, contact a legal professional as soon as possible.
As mentioned above, possession charges have some scope for defences in the criminal law. If you have been charged with possession of a prohibited drug where it was found on your person or amongst your property, it is deemed to be in your possession. If you can rebut this presumption, you may be able to raise a defence to the charge.
Another defence, though not often raised, is that the prohibited substance was in your possession legally due to a medical condition or license to carry that prohibited drug. This often only applies to licensed medical practitioners.
Where you have been found with possessing a traffickable quantity of a prohibited substance, it is deemed that the drug was actually intended for supply. It is then for the defence to rebut the presumption and show that the drug was in your possession for personal use. This is a difficult defence to raise, and you should enlist the help of a professional criminal lawyer if you have been charged with possession with intent to sell.
Drug Possession, use, supply and driving under the influence of prohibited drugs are all very serious offences which carry large penalties and prison sentences. The sooner you contact a criminal lawyer, the better your prospects in court. Contact an expert criminal defence lawyer immediately if you have been charged with any of the above offences. Contact our Sydney Criminal Lawyers today for urgent 24 hour legal advice 02 9261 8640 or email us.