Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence

If you have been charged with trafficking in a drug of dependence, 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, they must satisfy two elements of the offence. They can be found in s 71AC of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) and are as follows:

  1. The accused intentionally trafficked or attempted to traffic in a particular substance; and
  2. The substance trafficked was a drug of dependence.

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 in a drug of dependence will usually be heard in the Magistrates’ Court by a Magistrate or Judge. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offence, the charge may be heard in the County Court. A charge for trafficking in a drug of dependence is unlikely to go to trial with a jury.

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.

Maximum penalty:

The maximum penalty a charge for trafficking in a drug of dependence is 15 years imprisonment, known as Level 4 imprisonment.

What sentences are usually given?

According to the Sentencing Council Victoria, between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2016, 805 people were sentenced with trafficking in a drug of dependence as the principal offence. From that number, 67.3% were given imprisonment sentences, with a maximum term of 8 years. The median length of an imprisonment sentence was 2.5 years.

Non-imprisonment sentences included Community Corrections Orders (10.6%) and Wholly Suspended Sentences (13.2%).

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.