Section 10 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 | Drug Possession


Drug possession is one of the most common offences dealt with in the Local Courts and involves having an illegal drug under your custody and control.

It is an offence under section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).

There is no need for the prosecution to prove that you owned the drugs – you can still be charged with this offence where you were simply holding them for a friend.

The prosecution simply needs to prove that the drugs were in your possession, and you knew, or should have known that they were in your possession.

For instance, you may be charged with drug possession if drugs are found in your home, car or on your person.

However, no matter how serious the allegations are, our specialist drug lawyers can help you fight the charges by advising you of any possible defences that you may raise.

These include the defence of ‘exclusive possession’ – where police are unable to prove that the drugs belonged to you, or the defence of honest and reasonable mistake – where you were honestly unaware that the drugs were in your possession, such as when they were planted on you.

Alternatively, we can fight to have the charges thrown out where police conducted an illegal search.

Drug possession is a summary offence, which means that it will be dealt with before a magistrate in the Local Court.

The maximum penalty for this offence under the law is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200, however this will only apply in the most serious cases.

The Legislation

10 Possession of prohibited drugs

(1) A person who has a prohibited drug in his or her possession is guilty of an offence.

(2) Nothing in this section renders unlawful the possession of a prohibited drug by:

(a) a person licensed or authorised to have possession of the prohibited drug under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966

(b) a person acting in accordance with an authority granted by the Secretary of the Department of Health where the Secretary is satisfied that the possession of the prohibited drug is for the purpose of scientific research, instruction, analysis or study,

(b1) a person acting in accordance with a direction given by the Commissioner of Police under section 39RA,

(c) a person for or to whom the prohibited drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied, or

(d) a person who:

(i) has the care of, or is assisting in the care of, another person for or to whom the prohibited drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied, and

(ii) has the prohibited drug in his or her possession for the sole purpose of administering, or assisting in the self-administration of, the prohibited drug to the other person in accordance with the prescription or supply.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Though it is a relatively minor offence, a drug possession charge has the potential to result in a conviction on your criminal record.

But with the help of our drug law specialists you can effectively fight the charges and move on with your life without the burden of a criminal record hanging over your head.

As Sydney’s only drug law specialists, our lawyers possess the expert insight and knowledge to give you the most effective defence against the charges.

Our lawyers will take the time to carefully examine all the facts and evidence and will push to have the charges dropped before a defended hearing.

Where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our drug law experts will identify any possible defences that can be raised to secure the best possible outcome.

Should you wish to plead guilty to the charges, our lawyers will fight hard to obtain a ‘section 10,’ which is where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record.

We take pride in our proven track record of achieving section 10s, which is far superior to that of any other law firm in Sydney.

Our lawyers frequently represent clients charged with drug possession at music festivals, and consistently secure section 10s in these kinds of cases.

We also offer competitive fixed fee rates for drug possession matters, so you know upfront exactly how much your matter is going to cost you.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference to discuss your matter with Sydney’s leading drug lawyers.