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Criminal Lawyers for Drug Cultivation – s 23 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985

Drug cultivation encompasses a variety of actions which involve the growing or maintenance of illegal plants.

While being charged with drug cultivation has the ability to negatively impact your life and future, you can trust Sydney’s most experienced drug law specialists to fight hard to protect your liberty, allowing you to have a more positive outlook on life.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

To be found guilty of drug cultivation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either:

  • Cultivated an illegal plant – for example, watering or fertilizing plants, even where they are not on your property and they do not belong to you, OR
  • Supplied an illegal plant to another person, including seeds or spores, OR
  • Possessed an illegal plant on your property, even where you do not own them.

If you feel that the prosecution will be unable to prove any one of these three circumstances, you may wish to enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

Our experienced drug lawyers can then present your side of the story in court, along with any evidence to prove your innocence.

Our lawyers specialise in drug law and have a proven track record of winning serious drug cultivation cases – so you can count on us to give you the best possible defence.

In many cases, we are able to get charges dropped at an early stage by raising problems with the prosecution evidence – for example, where there is not enough evidence to prove that you cultivated an illegal plant.

We can also advise you of any defences that you can raise to explain your actions, for example where:

  • You were threatened or forced into cultivating the plants (duress)
  • You were not aware that the plants you had were illegal (honest and reasonable mistake)

When it comes to your liberty, don’t waste time talking to an inexperienced general lawyer. Benefit from the knowledge and experience of our senior drug lawyers – Accredited Criminal Law Specialists who will give you the best defence against the charges.

Pleading Guilty

If you wish to accept the charges against you, you can enter a plea of guilty to the charges.

In some cases, this may be beneficial as it will demonstrate your remorse to the court and may potentially help you achieve a more lenient penalty.

If you are considering pleading guilty, you may be wondering what types of penalties you could face and how they could affect you.

The maximum penalties that apply will depend on the amount of plants that you have:


No. of plants

Maximum Penalty

Local Court

District Court

Small quantity 5
  • Not more than the small quantity: 2 years imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine.

  • Not more than the small quantity: 10 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine if cannabis; 15 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine if other than cannabis.
Indictable quantity 50
  • More than small quantity but less than indictable quantity: 2 years imprisonment and/or $11,000 fine.
  • More than small quantity but less than indictable quantity: 10 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine if cannabis; 15 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine if other than cannabis.
Commercial quantity 250
  • More than indictable quantity but less than commercial quantity: 2 years imprisonment and/or $11,000 fine.
  • More than indictable quantity but less than commercial quantity: 10 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine if cannabis; 15 years imprisonment and/or $220,000 fine if other than cannabis.
Large commercial quantity 1000
  • More than commercial quantity but less than large commercial quantity: Cannot be dealt with by Local Court.
  • Large commercial quantity: Cannot be dealt with by Local Court.
  • More than commercial quantity but less than large commercial quantity: 15 years imprisonment and/or $385,000 fine if cannabis, or 20 years imprisonment and/or $385,000 fine if other than cannabis.
  • Large commercial quantity: 20 years imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine if cannabis, or life imprisonment and $550,000 fine if other than cannabis.

However, these are maximum penalties only and will only apply in the most serious of cases. The type of penalty that you will receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Our expert drug lawyers can help you avoid these harsh maximum penalties by presenting your case in the most positive light and convincing the judge to issue you with an alternative and less onerous penalty.

For example, if you are a person of good character and you have a low chance of reoffending, our lawyers can discuss these factors when persuading the judge to deal with your matter leniently.

The types of penalties that the court is able to issue include:

Statistics indicate that the average penalty for cultivating a commercial quantity of a prohibited plant is 27 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 15 months. However, you can increase your chances of getting a more favourable penalty by getting our expert drug lawyers on your side.

Our expert insight and knowledge enables us to fight hard to get the best possible penalty for our clients, even when the charges are serious.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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