Western Australia is known for having some of the harshest drug offence penalties anywhere. The laws regarding drug charges are complex, and penalties range from small fines and jail time to stiff penalties, including fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and lengthy prison terms depending on the circumstances surrounding the charges.
The experienced criminal lawyers at WN Legal understand the specifics involved in drug charges and have successfully helped hundreds of citizens facing drug charges. You should not risk trying to represent yourself in a drug case.
Western Australia’s drug laws are detailed and complicated. Here is an overview of the current regulations, definitions of offences and potential penalties for those found guilty in a court of law.
General Drug Offences
The most common general drug offences are possession, use, and supplying. Laws in Western Australia define the offences as follows,
- Possession is defined as physically carrying a prohibited drug on you or having it at your residence or in your motor vehicle.
- Use is considered partaking in several substances, including pharmaceuticals (either over the counter or prescription) used in a non-medical or harmful way. Police can request a blood test to prove your use of illicit drugs ONLY after you have been arrested.
- Supply is providing a prohibited drug to another person, including friends. The amount of the drug is often the distinction between supplying, trafficking, and dealing. Generally, if the person supplying exchanges the drug for money, goods, or services, they can be considered a drug trafficker.
Penalties vary, but the maximum penalty for possession and use is two years in prison. Supplying and trafficking maximum penalty for lower-level offences is 2-14 years in prison.
The Cultivation and Sale of Controlled Plants
Western Australia’s laws regarding cultivating and selling controlled plants and the consequences of such activity are strict. According to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981, possessing or growing a prohibited plant with intent to sell or supply the plant to others for cultivation or sales is a crime.
Cultivation of a prohibited plant consists of growing or scattering the seed produced by a controlled plant or planting, nurturing, tending, or harvesting a controlled plant.
The intent to sell or supply to others is presumed if a person is cultivating 20 or more cannabis plants.
The maximum penalty for cultivating with intent to sell is ten years in prison or a fine of $20,000. However, if growing the prohibited plants endangers or harms a child under 16, mandatory sentencing ranging from 6-12 months imprisonment is required.
Possessing and Administering Controlled Drugs
A health care professional, such as a doctor or dentist, can legally administer a therapeutic dose of controlled substances with the appropriate licensing. Healthcare organisations must appoint an Accountable Officer in charge of safe possession and use of controlled drugs within their facility.
Possessing or administering prohibited drugs without meeting these conditions is criminal activity and punishable with fines and jail time.
Manufacturing of Controlled Precursors
It is an offence to engage in the manufacturing of controlled precursors to make a prohibited drug.
Precursors are chemicals that are required to create certain controlled substances. Precursor chemicals are legally a part of the production of consumer goods. However, when combined with other specific ingredients, precursors can become deadly illegal drugs.
The law defines manufacturing a precursor as taking part in the manufacturing, having control over the precursor creation, or arranging finances to facilitate its production.
Penalties vary based on the amount of precursor produced but can reach 25 years in jail for manufacturing a commercial quantity of the precursor.
Trafficking of Controlled Substances
While supplying controlled substances is illegal, the crime of drug trafficking is a more severe offence. While it is arguable that some fine lines exist between the two charges, trafficking appears as more of a business or commercial venture.
Additionally, trafficking includes behaviours that show the intent to,
- Prepare a controlled drug for sale
- Sell a controlled drug
- Conceal a controlled drug
- Transport a controlled drug with the intent of selling it
- Possess a controlled drug with the intent of selling it
- Enlisting others to engage in the activities as mentioned earlier
With so much at stake, you need the most accurate information and the best legal representation available if you face drug charges. Do not trust your future and your freedom to an inexperienced legal team. Reach out to the professionals at WN Legal. Our team understands the finer points of Western Australia’s drug laws and will work tirelessly to get you the best outcome possible.
The material presented here is for informational use only. It is not binding legal advice and should not take the place of a consultation with legal professionals.