Despite the popularity of many drugs in movies and TV shows, there are many which are considered harmful and therefore – illegal. If you are caught with illicit drugs in NSW, what happens next? Here is a basic overview of the current drug laws.
Illegal drugs and drug offences in NSW
Not all drugs are illegal. Some, like alcohol or tobacco, are regulated. While others, like cannabis and cocaine, are considered harmful. We explore more on which drugs are illegal in our previous blog.
Any person who is caught with illegal drugs is likely to be charged with one or more of the main offences in NSW: possession, use, cultivation or supply/trafficking. We explain these charges in more detail in our blog on drug law in NSW.
Any charges will mostly depend on the type and quantity of the drug found. It is also relevant if this is a first or repeat offence and whether the alleged offender has a previous criminal history. So, if you are caught with illegal drugs – what is likely to happen next?
In any situation, it is recommended to seek the advice of qualified drug lawyers who can explain your options and help you achieve the best outcome for your case.
On the spot fines an option for small amounts
Since early 2019, the NSW Police have been authorised to issue on the spot fines, or penalty notices, for possession of a ‘small amount’ of drugs. The fine is $400, and you will not be required to attend court – this means it will not be on your criminal record. The current definition of small amounts are:
- Less than 0.25g MDMA/ecstasy in capsule form
- Less than 0.75g MDMA/ecstasy in other forms
- Less than 1g amphetamine
- Less than 1g cocaine
- Less than 2.5g ketamine
- Less than 0.0008g LSD
- Less than 1g methylamphetamine
It is at the discretion of police as to whether they issue a penalty notice or not – even if the amount of drugs found is considered small. Notably, cannabis is not featured on this list. This is because there is an existing Cannabis Caution Scheme in place allowing police warnings for less than 15g of cannabis. Neither of these schemes means illicit drugs are now legal. If you are found with any amount of illegal drugs, you may face criminal charges.
What if you have more than a small amount?
If you have more than these small amounts or if the police deem it appropriate, you may be charged with an offence and given a Court Attendance Notice. If you are found guilty or plead guilty to these charges, the offence will appear on your criminal record.
Contact Powerhouse Law’s experienced drug lawyers
If you or someone you know has been caught with illegal drugs, contact Powerhouse Law’s drug possession lawyers. Based in Sydney, our lawyers attend all the NSW courts from Paramatta to Campbelltown, Blacktown, Penrith and more. For 24/7 legal assistance, call 1800 100 529 or use our online form to arrange a consultation.