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Criminal Lawyers for Supply of a Prohibited Drug – s 25 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985

‘Drug supply’ broadly refers to situations where you are involved in the sale or distribution of drugs; for example, storing drugs at your house for later distribution, sending drugs in the post or delivering them in person, or giving drugs to other people for free.

Life can be difficult for you and your loved ones when you are facing drug supply charges. But with Sydney’s best drug lawyers on your side, you can give yourself the best chance at a brighter future.

The Law

What is the Offence of Drug Supply?

Drug Supply is an offence under Section 25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985.

Supply includes selling, giving away for free and participating in any stage of the supply process.

Some of the most common prohibited drugs are:

  1. Cannabis
  2. MDMA (or ‘ecstasy’)
  3. Cocaine, and
  4. Heroin

The relevant weight is the ‘admixture’ which means the total weight of the substance, not just the weight of the prohibited drug within it.

What are the Penalties?

The maximum penalties for ‘drug supply’ depend on:

1. Drug type,

2. Drug quantity, and

3. Whether the case is dealt with in the Local or District court.

Drug Type/Quantity Categories

Drug Type
Small Quantity
Indictable Quantity
Commercial Quantity
Large Commercial Quantity
Ecstacy (MDMA)
30 grams

Maximum penalties

Quantity Category
When Dealt with in Local Court
When Dealt with In District Court
Less than Small Quantity
2 years prison and/or $5,500 fine
15 years prison and/or $220,000 fine
At Least Small Quantity but Less Than Indictable Quantity
2 years prison and/or $11,000 fine
15 years prison and/or $220,000 fine
At Least Indictable Quantity but Less Than Commercial Quantity
2 years prison and/or $11,000 fine
15 years prison and/or $220,000 fine
At Least Commercial Quantity but Less Than Large Commercial Quantity
Not Applicable
20 years prison and/or $385,000 fine
At Least Large Commercial Quantity
Not Applicable
Life imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine

What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove?

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you supplied, or took part in the supply of, a substance
  2. That substance was a prohibited drug, and
  3. You knew, or believed at the time, that the substance was a prohibited drug

You must be acquitted if the prosecution is unable to prove each of these ‘elements’.

It is important to be aware that the prosecution must prove you knew the drugs were there, and also that you had ‘exclusive possession’ of those drugs (so, it can be difficult for them to prove that drugs found in a common area such as the living room, kitchen or bathroom of a home occupied by more than one person were in the possession of any one of those people).

The charge can also be thrown out of court if police performed an illegal search, where the desirability of admitting the evidence of the drugs found is outweighed by the undesirability of admitting such illegally obtained evidence.

What are the Defences?

Defences to the drug supply include:

  • Duress (which is where your actions were due to a threat of death or serious injury, and there was no reasonable way for you to render the threat ineffective, and your conduct was a reasonable response to the threat)
  • Necessity, and
  • Temporarily holding for another person (known as the ‘Carey defence’, which can reduce a charge of supply to the less serious charge of drug possession).

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

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

  • Sold or distributed illegal drugs, OR
  • Agreed or offered to supply illegal drugs, OR
  • Had illegal drugs in your possession that you intended to supply to other persons at a later date.

if you wish to plead not guilty, experienced criminal lawyers will persuasively present your side of the story in a positive light and will highlight any problems with the prosecution case, such as where there is insufficient evidence to prove that you supplied the drugs to another person.

Often, we are able to have charges dropped at an early stage by raising these types of issues – sparing you the time and expense of a defended hearing.

Our lawyers have considerable experience fighting and winning drug supply matters and have the expert knowledge necessary to advise you of the various steps you can take when it comes to fighting the charges, for example, where:

  • The drugs were for your own personal use only
  • You gave the drugs to another person to hold on to temporarily
  • The police performed an illegal search (where they did not have reasonable suspicion to search you)
  • The drugs were found in a common area of the house, so you did not have ‘exclusive possession’ of the drugs
  • There is insufficient evidence to show that you supplied the drugs

Pleading Guilty

If you wish to accept the charges against you, you may wish to enter a plea of ‘guilty’ to the charges at the first opportunity.

Pleading guilty at an early stage in the proceedings may be beneficial in some cases, as it will show to the court that you accept responsibility for your actions. In most cases, this will mean that you will get a more lenient penalty.

Ultimately, the type of penalty that you will receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. However, the main determinant of your penalty will be the type and amount of the drug supplied:

  Where the amount is… The maximum penalty will be…
Not more than a small quantity <0.25g of MDMA/ecstasy<1g of amphetamines, cocaine or heroin<30g of cannabis 2 years imprisonment and/or a $5500 fine if your matter is finalised in the Local Court or 15 years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine if it is finalised in a higher court.
Not more than an indictable quantity <1.25g of MDMA/ecstasy<5g of amphetamines, cocaine or heroin<1kg of cannabis 2 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine if your matter is finalised in the Local Court or 15 years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine if your matter is finalised in a higher court.
Not more than a commercial quantity <125g of MDMA/ecstasy<250g of amphetamines, cocaine or heroin<25kg of cannabis 2 years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine if your matter is finalised in the Local Court or 15 years imprisonment and/or a $220,000 fine. Can only be heard in higher courts.
Not more than a large commercial quantity


More than the large commercial quantity

<500g of MDMA<1kg of amphetamines, cocaine or heroin<100kg of cannabis


>500g of MDMA>1kg of amphetamines, cocaine or heroin>100kg of cannabis

20 years imprisonment and/or a $385,000 fine. Can only be heard in higher courts.


Life imprisonment and/or $550,000 fine. Can only be heard in higher courts.

While these penalties may seem harsh, it is important to bear in mind that they are maximum penalties only, meaning that they will apply in only the most serious supply cases.

Our drug law experts can help you persuade the court to deal with the matter leniently – and in many cases, we can help you avoid going to gaol.

The court has the power to impose a wide range of penalties, including:

Statistics show that the average penalty for supplying less than a commercial quantity of drugs was 27 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 14 months. For supply of a commercial quantity, the median penalty was 66 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 36 months.

Remember, your best chance at fighting (and beating) your supply charge is to get a specialist drug lawyer on your side.

The expert defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® has years of experience defending clients in all types of supply cases.

We have high success rates in getting charges dropped for our clients by writing letters to the prosecution highlighting problems with their case. This means that you can be spared the time, expense and stress of a jury trial or a defended hearing.

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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