If you have been charged with trafficking in a drug of dependence – large commercial quantity, here is some information to know and consider in seeking legal advice with Emma Turnbull Lawyers.
Elements of the offence
For the prosecution to prove the offence of trafficking in a drug of dependence – large commercial quantity, they must satisfy two elements of the offence. They can be found in s 71 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) and are as follows:
- The accused intentionally trafficked or attempted to traffic in quantity of a drug of dependence not less thana large commercial quantity applicable to that drug of dependence; and
- The accused did so without authorisation.
A drug of dependence is defined in s 4 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic).
Will I have to go to court?
Charges for trafficking a drug of dependence – large commercial quantity will usually be heard in the County Court. Due to the seriousness of the charge it cannot be heard in a lower court. There is a statutory requirement that means if you are found guilty of this offence, a term of imprisonment must be given. This charge also carries a presumption against bail.
Once the case goes to court, it is up to the prosecution to prove the elements of the offence. It is important that you seek expert legal advice in building a defence as the possible penalties for this offence are serious.
The maximum penalty a charge for trafficking a drug of dependence is life imprisonment, known as Level 1 imprisonment.
What sentences are usually given?
According to the Sentencing Council Victoria, between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2016, 76 people were sentenced with trafficking in a drug of dependence as the principal offence. From that number, 100% were given imprisonment sentences, as the statutory requirement requires the court to hand down a term of imprisonment for this offence. The maximum length of an imprisonment sentence was 30 years and the median 8 years.
What do I do now?
To ensure the best chance of a successful defence, it is important to get in contact with an expert criminal lawyer as soon as possible. At Emma Turnbull Lawyers, we have experienced criminal defence lawyers who can assist you in defending this charge.