Video Transcript

I’m Craig Caldicott, a Senior Criminal Lawyer at Caldicott Lawyers. I’ve been doing this for 40 years. In this video, I’m going to share some information about serious drug and drug trafficking offences in this state. 

There are all types of drugs that you can be charged with. It is an offence in South Australia to be in possession of an illicit substance and prescription drugs without a legitimate prescription.

Drugs come in various different shapes and sizes, from synthetic to natural based, and possessing a large number of drugs is a very, very serious charge, and in most cases, calls for an immediate custodial sentence. In other words, you go to jail.

Drugs fall into 2 main categories: cannabis and/or synthetic substances.

Controlled Substances

A controlled substance is generally a drug or a chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated by the government.

Illicit drugs and medication are dealt with by the controlled substances legislation.

Controlled drugs include, but are not limited to, substances such as ecstasy, cocaine, meth and heroin.

If you are caught with more than 2 grams of an illicit controlled substance, such as meth, cocaine or heroin, it is presumed you are going to sell it, which leads to a charge of drug trafficking.

If you are caught trafficking in a controlled drug [basic offence], it can carry with it a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.

When determining what category of offence a substance falls under, the penalty structure will depend on the quantity of the drug based on the weight and the intention of the person possessing it. 

Drug trafficking charges are broken down into 3 classes based on weight:

  1. Basic 
  2. Commercial, and
  3. Large commercial quantities

Penalties For Trafficking A Controlled Substance

The maximum penalty for trafficking controlled drugs [basic offence] is up to 10 years. If you have a commercial quantity of drugs, then it carries with it a term of imprisonment of up to 25 years.

The penalty for each of these charges increases greatly, with the offence of trafficking in a large commercial quantity carrying life imprisonment and will lead to jail, unless you can prove there are exceptional circumstances why you shouldn’t go to jail.

Cannabis Offences

The second major drug classification is cannabis, or as it is often known, marijuana.

Cannabis is classified as a controlled drug, and can carry significant penalties, such as jail and the loss of all your possessions.

Cannabis offences relate to both the growing, manufacturing and cultivation of the plant itself, and the selling and distribution of the plant, leaf, or bud plant material.

Penalties For Trafficking Cannabis

If you are charged with cultivation and growing more than 10 plants, you are presumed to be growing it for trafficking. And, if you have more than 20 cannabis plants, you would be charged with cultivating a commercial quantity and be dealt with by the superior courts.

If you are in possession of 250g of cannabis or more, you are presumed to be trafficking that amount and likewise, if you have over 1kg, you are presumed to be trafficking a commercial quantity. 

If you have over 2kg, you are presumed to be trafficking in a large commercial quantity of cannabis, which will lead to jail. 

Although there may be times when sentences are not served in custody, it is only in rare and exceptional circumstances that that occurs.

There has been much talk about the legalisation of certain illicit substances, both for medicinal and recreational use, in the media. However, it is important to note that it is still illegal to be in possession of illicit substances.

Courts have taken a very hard stance against those responsible for trafficking drugs in the community, and we do not advocate that you be involved in drugs whatsoever. 

If you or someone you know has been arrested for drug related offending, speak to one of our solicitors to obtain legal advice about the best way to navigate through those matters.

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