When you’ve been charged with a criminal offence like drug importation, it’s only natural to feel worried and stressed about what might to happen to yourself and your loved ones.
But you can trust the experienced defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® to give you the very strongest defence to serious drug charges.
In fact, we have defended and won some of Australia’s largest ever drug importation cases, including a complex trial involving the importation of $600 million of heroin – where all 3 of our clients were found ‘not guilty’. We have also achieved bail for our clients in several commercial drug importation cases.
So you can rest assured that you’re in the hands of Australia’s best drug defence team.
Your Options in Court
Pleading Not Guilty
To be found guilty of drug importation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You imported a border controlled substance, and
- You knew the substance was a border controlled substance, or were reckless as to whether or not it was a border controlled substance.
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.
|Importing a commercial quantity of drugs (Section 307.1)||
|Importing a marketable quantity of drugs (Section 307.2)||
|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.|
If you feel that any of the above criteria cannot be proved by the prosecution, you may wish to enter a plea of ‘not guilty.’
Our senior criminal lawyers are renowned drug law experts and can help you fight the charges by presenting your side of the story in court, together with any evidence that supports your case.
We guarantee that you will be represented by one of our highly experienced lawyers, who have a proven track record of fighting and winning serious drug importation cases.
Our drug law experts can also identity any defences that you may wish to raise in court, for example:
- Where you were threatened or coerced into importing the drugs (duress).
- Where you suffered from a mental illness at the time of the offence.
- Where the pure quantity of drugs is less than the quantity alleged by the prosecution.
If you wish to accept the charges against you, you have the option of entering a plea of ‘guilty’.
However, before pleading guilty, you should speak to one of our experienced drug lawyers, who will advise you of your options and the best way forward.
The maximum and median penalty for drug importation depends on the type and amount of drug involved:
|Offence||Quantity||Maximum Penalty||Median penalty|
|Importing a commercial quantity of drugs (Section 307.1)||
||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)||
|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.
The various penalties that the court can impose include:
- Section 10 Dismissal
- Conditional Release Order
- Community Correction Order
- Intensive Correction Order
Because of this, it is extremely important to ensure that you get a specialist drug lawyer on your side who can present your case effectively in court.
Unlike general lawyers, the lawyers at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® specialise in drug law and possess an extensive knowledge of the law in relation to drug charges, which will give you an advantage in your drug case.
We have a long history dealing with all types of drug matters and we have a reputation for fighting and winning complex drug cases.
In fact, we successfully defended and won Australia’s biggest ever heroin importation case, involving the importation of $600 million of heroin.
Thanks to the hard work of our expert lawyers, all three of our clients were found ‘not guilty’ even though the prosecution consistently maintained that it had a strong case.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.