What are the penalties for producing dangerous drugs?
In Australia, a person who unlawfully produces a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime. However, when we say ‘produce’, we are not just referring to the manufacturing of a dangerous drug – it also involves packaging them for sale, harvesting plants that grow dangerous drugs, preparing or cultivating drugs, even if it is not for commercial sale. Section 8 of the Drugs Misuse Act (Qld) sets out the offence of Producing Dangerous Drugs.
Penalties for Producing Dangerous Drugs
The type and quantity of drugs in question will determine which court will hear the matter and also the type of penalty an individual is likely to face. If minor, the offence will be heard by the Magistrates Court. However, if the offence is more serious or involves extensive qualities of dangerous drugs, the offence will be indictable and the Supreme Court will hear the case.
The different types of penalties include:
The maximum penalty if someone is found guilty of this crime is 15 – 25 years imprisonment. This charge would depend on the drug, the production charges, the circumstances and an individual’s past convictions. This is the most serious penalty enforced on an individual.
- Intensive corrections order (ICO)
This penalty is a form of imprisonment but is served in the community adhering to a number of requirements ordered by the Court. For example, it includes regularly reporting to parole officers and participating in counselling, amongst a range of other terms and conditions that must be met.
This penalty is a promise to maintain good behaviour for a period of time. If breached, an individual can be fined.
This penalty is when an individual must pay a sum of money for their offense.
What does the judge consider when enforcing penalties?
The Court will look at each individual case and the circumstances surrounding the case before enforcing a penalty. They will take the following into consideration:
- The size of the plantation, the duration of the enterprise and the sophistication of the project;
- The potential for profit;
- Whether it is for commercial or personal use;
- Whether the offender is a principal of the production or a helper;
- Prior convictions; and
- Level of cooperation with police and early pleas.
Defences for Producing Dangerous Drugs
While the Court has heard nearly every defence and does not treat this type of crime lightly, some possible defences to this type of alleged conviction could include, but is not limited to:
- Identification: you were not the person involved in the alleged crime.
- Honest mistake: you honestly believed the production was not a dangerous drug and was a lawful item; it was a genuine mistake.
- Actions did not amount to production.
- Necessity or coercion: you were forced to take part against your will.
It is important you seek the support of a good criminal defence lawyer if you are facing these charges.
More information on Producing Dangerous Drugs
Our team of qualified lawyers have extensive experience dealing with dangerous drug charges and can assist you to find out more information and achieve the best possible result if you are facing a charge for producing dangerous drugs. Contact us.