Understanding the law usually isn’t one of the goals that people have. They try to live honestly without any activities that harm their freedom. However, you should primarily know that laws around the world are not the same. More precisely, almost every country in the world has a unique set of rules that its citizens need to respect.
We can use marijuana as a good example of that. The number of countries that legalized that plant-based medicine is growing. However, certain countries still hesitate to decide on that move. Selling or consuming marijuana is still illegal in the biggest part of the world. That should be a good message for tourists that are traveling around the world.
Anyway, drug possession is a very common offense. People decide on using drugs because of various reasons. Some of them don’t know how to handle everyday pressure and drugs seem like the easiest way to manage stress. On the other hand, many people decide on this illegal activity because of the profit.
We truly believe that you haven’t come here because of yourself. However, we are sure that you want to get familiar with this subject. Because of that, we would like to talk about everything associated with this subject.
The penalties for drug possession vary significantly having regard to:
- The amount you have in your possession;
- The reason you have drugs in your possession which may be determined by what you say when you are interviewed by police or from other avenues (for example witnesses, surveillance, your phone or listening devices);
- Whether you have any prior matters for which you have been punished related to drug possession or drug trafficking.
To determine whether you have a defense to drug possession or to work out what penalty you are facing if you do not have a defense, it is important to contact a criminal lawyer as early as possible so you can work out the best way forward having regard to the case against you.
In Victoria, drug offenses are set out in the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981, (“the Act”). Schedule 11 of the Act sets out a large number of substances that are prohibited by law. It includes substances commonly known as GHB, ecstasy, ice, cannabis, heroin, and cocaine. There are many more. Schedule 11 also includes a section about quantities and how the Courts are to understand them.
In short, if the quantity of the drugs you have in your possession exceeds one of the statutory thresholds you may well be charged with more serious offenses such as trafficking, trafficking in a commercial quantity, or even trafficking in a large commercial quantity.
However, often the quantity of drugs found in the possession of a person is less than the statutory thresholds or, even if it exceeds them, there is an absence of other evidence to support the laying of any charge other than drug possession. With that said, the police often lay a charge of trafficking when there is not enough evidence to sustain that charge. You should, therefore, always be very cautious before pleading guilty to a charge of trafficking bearing in mind in many circumstances drug possession, rather than drug trafficking, is the appropriate charge.
Possession is broadly defined by the Act. First, the definition includes drugs found on your person. However, there is also a deeming provision which sets out that you are guilty of drug possession when a prohibited substance is located:
- upon any land owned or occupied by you; or
- in a place that is controlled, used, or enjoyed by you.
Having regard to the above you can see that there is a broad range of circumstances which may see you being charged with possession including when drugs are found in a property you own, rent, or simply one in which you are living, even temporarily.
Given the range of circumstances in which you can be charged, you must obtain legal advice early so as to work out if you can defend yourself against a charge of drug possession.
One defense that is commonly relied upon where a person is deemed to be in possession of drugs is that that person had no knowledge of the presence of the drug found in a property to which they are connected. An easy way to understand this defense is with reference to a landlord who rents out a property for some time and never attends on that property once the tenant moves in. In a situation where drugs are found in that property and the landlord is charged, s/he is likely to be in a position where s/he can successfully argue that s/he had no knowledge of the presence of the drug in that property.
Will I go to jail for drug possession?
Possessing a substance which you are not lawfully permitted to possess (e.g. prescribed) can result in you being charged and having to appear at court. As set out at the beginning the penalties vary significantly. For example, if the amount you possess is small and you have never been in trouble before you may well be able to receive a diversion (which is a mechanism for first-time offenders to avoid a criminal record). If, however, you are in possession of a significant amount of drugs and there is a suggestion that you are in possession of those drugs for the purpose of trafficking then you may receive a term of imprisonment.
Our team of criminal lawyers in Melbourne will discuss with you what you are facing having regard to the particular circumstances of your case, whether you have a defense available to you and if not how best to minimize the penalty you receive.
Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Lawyer
If you are found in possession of drugs, it is important to get legal representation as soon as possible. If you can speak to a lawyer before you are interviewed that would be best. If, however, it is after, the earlier the better. Yet, we know that some people hesitate to do that because of various reasons. Some people simply believe they can handle the problem alone. Unfortunately, the approach like that usually doesn’t bring the most effective results. There are certain benefits you can get from hiring a criminal lawyer. After reading them, we are sure you will change your way of opinion.
Experience or expertise that these professionals possess is something you surely need. They went through dozens of cases and they will easily take the case to its logical conclusions. As you can guess, they have spent years analyzing different areas of the criminal justice system. Hiring a lawyer from some other field would be a mistake because of their lack of experience.
They Will Protect Your Rights
You can be sure that all the rights you have are going to be fully protected. Thanks to their knowledge, you will get the best possible service at all points. In most cases, they will also manage to save you from certain hefty fines and similar financial losses. Of course, that only counts if they truly possess the necessary knowledge.
Things Will End Faster
We understand that some people are innocent. However, you won’t manage to prove that quickly without a good criminal lawyer. Fortunately, the entire process can end faster and your name will probably be cleared as soon as possible. There are many procedures that you need to go through. In most cases, they last a bit longer than we all expect. The lawyer’s experience plays a key role in this case. As we said, they have studied all aspects of criminal law and they know how the procedure can last shorter.
They Are Always Updated
In the end, we need to highlight that criminal laws are not static. They are changing all the time in almost every country in the world. An ordinary person that doesn’t have anything to do with law usually doesn’t know about those changes. Because of that, hiring a lawyer would be the smartest decision of all.
The most professional lawyer always keep themselves updated. They constantly follow the law and all its changes. After they end their analysis, they usually try to find a way to help the clients thanks to those changes.
How to Find a Good Criminal Lawyer?
In almost every major town, you will manage to find many teams of criminal lawyers. They rarely work individually because it is easier to cover all aspects of criminal law as a team. Despite that, living in a world of advanced technology also brings certain benefits. By basic Google research, you can find many of them that operate in your town or country. Unfortunately, not all of them are equally good. Believing in commercials and social media ads is not always a good solution.
The purpose of this article is to make all the things clearer to you. Because of that, we would like to recommend you Stary Norton Halphen to get specialist and professional legal advice for all criminal law matters. It is important to choose a team that has a rich experience in the field like this.