Going to Court? Book Your Free First Appointment

Lawyers in Sydney for Drug Importation or Exportation

Last updated on
Information on this page was reviewed by a specialist defence lawyer before being published. Click to read more.

Drug importation and exportation are offences under sections 307.1, 307.2 and 307.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which applies across Australia.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that a person imported or exported a substance, did so intentionally, the substance was a border controlled drug or plant, and the person knew or was reckless as to whether the substance was a border controlled drug or plant.

In addition to having to prove each of these ‘essential elements’ to the required standard, the prosecution must also disprove to the same high standard any legal defence that is raised on the evidence, including duress and necessity.

The maximum penalties that apply to drug importation and exportation offences range from 10 years to life in prison, depending on the quantity of the drugs alleged.

Experienced drug lawyers

The experienced drug defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers has an unparalleled track record of having drug importation charges withdrawn or downgraded at an early stage, and dismissed at trial if the case goes that far.

In fact, our team has a long and proven track record of consistently defeating drug importation allegations where the evidence against our clients appears at the outset to be overwhelming to others.

An example of this is Australia’s largest ever heroin importation cases, which involved the alleged importation of $600 million of the substance.

The case involved 6 defendants, 3 of whom were represented by our firm and the remaining 3 by other law firms.

All 3 our clients were ultimately found not guilty at trial, while the 3  represented by other law firms were found guilty, despite the factual circumstances being the almost identical.

The difference between our firm and some others is that our vast specialist experience in drug importation and other serious drug cases informs the  formulation and implementation of tactical and highly effective defence strategies

We regularly achieve bail for clients in complex commercial drug importation cases, where the amounts in question are large (including an alleged $300 million importation) and the evidence appears to be strong at the outset.

How Can an Experienced Drug Lawyer Assist?

If you are going to court over an allegation of cultivating prohibited plants, an experienced drug lawyer can assist by:

  • Evaluating the prosecution case,
  • Obtaining your account of the events,
  • Explaining the law and how it applies to your situation,
  • Explaining your options and advising you on the best way forward, and
  • Formulating and implementing an effective defence strategy.

For more information about how a specialist drug lawyer can help you achieve the optimal outcome in your case, read our drug lawyers page here.


Call Us Now

If you, a loved one or close acquaintance is facing drug importation or exportation allegations, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a consultation with a specialist drug lawyer who is vastly experienced in representing clients charged with the offence , has an exceptional track record of success and will fight overcome the charges.


Read on for more information about drug importation or exportation offences.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

To be found guilty of drug importation or exportation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You imported or exported a substance,
  • The substance was a border controlled substance, and
  • You were aware the substance was a border controlled substance, or were reckless as to whether or not it was and it was unjustifiable to take the risk given the circumstances known to you at the time, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

The term ‘import’ includes to bring a substance into Australia, as well as to deal with a substance in connection with its importation.

The term ‘reckless’ means you foresaw there was a substantial risk the substance was a border controlled plant but went ahead with your actions regardless.

Further, depending on the type of offence that you have been charged with, the prosecution may also need to prove the quantity of drugs that you imported.

The quantity that the prosecution has to prove relates to the pure quantity of the drugs.

Offence Quantity
Importing a commercial quantity of drugs (Section 307.1)
  • Ecstasy: 500 grams
  • Amphetamines: 750 grams
  • Heroin: 1.5 kilograms
  • Cocaine: 2 kilograms
  • Cannabis: 100 kilograms
Importing a marketable quantity of drugs (Section 307.2)
  • Ecstasy: 0.5 grams
  • Amphetamines, heroin and cocaine: 2 grams
  • Cannabis: 25 kilograms


Importing any quantity of drugs (Section 307.3) The prosecution does not need to prove a particular quantity; it will be enough to import any quantity of drugs.

In addition to having to prove the essential elements (or ingredients) of a drug importation or exportation charge (which includes identifying you as the offender and proving you had the required knowledge), the prosecution must disprove beyond a reasonable doubt any legal defences which you may validly raise.

Such defences include duress, which is where you were threatened that imminent serious harm would occur to you or someone close to you if you did not participate in the offence.

Drug importation/exportation cases can also be defended on grounds of mental illness, and where the pure weight of the drug is less than the prescribed quantity that is alleged.

Pleading Guilty

If you wish to accept the charges against you, you have the option of entering a plea of ‘guilty’.

The maximum penalties for drug importation, as well as the actual ‘median’ penalties handed out by the courts, depend largely on the type and amount of drug involved.

These are reflected in the following table:

Offence Quantity Maximum Penalty Median penalty
Importing a commercial quantity of drugs (Section 307.1)
  • Ecstasy: 500 grams
  • Amphetamines:750 grams
  • Heroin: 1.5 kilograms
  • Cocaine: 2 kilograms
  • Cannabis: 100 kilograms
Life imprisonment Imprisonment (92%), with full term of 8 years and non-parole period of 6 years.
Importing a marketable quantity of drugs (Section 307.2)
  • Ecstasy: 0.5 grams
  • Amphetamines, heroin and cocaine: 2 grams
  • Cannabis: 25 kilograms


25 years imprisonment Imprisonment (99%), with full term of 6 years and non-parole period of 4 years.
Importing any quantity of drugs (Section 307.3) The prosecution does not need to prove a particular quantity; it will be enough to import any quantity of drugs. 10 years imprisonment Imprisonment (62%), with full term of 18 months and non-parole period of 12 months.

Ultimately, the actual penalty that you will receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case – including your degree of involvement, position in the hierarchy, prior criminal history, efforts to rehabilitate and likelihood of reoffending.

The various penalties that the court can impose include:

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:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, 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.

Recent Success Stories

Recent Articles

Related Videos

Going to Court? Call For Your Free First Appointment

Main Menu

Follow Us

Ask Our AI Assistant

Disclaimer: Response is AI generated general advice only and should not be relied upon without consulting a lawyer.

Saved Articles & Pages


Preferred date for conference
Briefly describe your situation:
Do you have a court date?

Your Review & Rating * mandatory fields

Review Text *
Rating (optional)