Clarity Law

Specialist Criminal Law Firm Queensland
Monday, 10 July 2023 14:27

Penalties for Supplying Drugs in Queensland

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 Penalties for Supplying Drugs in Queensland

The penalties that apply in Queensland for a charge of supplying a dangerous drug depend on several factors, such as the type and quantity of the drug, the circumstances of the offence, and the criminal history of the offender. In this blog post, we will explain the legal framework and the possible outcomes for this serious offence.



Supplying a dangerous drug is defined as giving, distributing, selling, administering, transporting or offering to do any of those things with a substance that is listed in the Drugs Misuse Act 1986.

The Act categorises drugs into two schedules: Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.

Schedule 1 drugs are considered more harmful and include substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA and LSD.

Schedule 2 drugs are considered less harmful and include substances such as cannabis, morphine, codeine and steroids.


What penalties can be imposed for supply a dangerous drug?

The maximum penalty for supplying a dangerous drug varies depending on the schedule of the drug and the quantity involved. For example, supplying more than 2 grams of a Schedule 1 drug carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment, while supplying less than 1 gram of a Schedule 2 drug carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment. However, these penalties can be increased if there are aggravating factors, such as supplying to a minor, supplying in an educational institution, or supplying for a commercial purpose.

The actual penalty that is imposed by the court will depend on the individual circumstances of the case and the offender. The court will consider factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offence, the level of involvement and culpability of the offender, the impact on the victims and the community, and the prospects of rehabilitation and deterrence. The court will also take into account any mitigating factors, such as cooperation with authorities, remorse, guilty plea, good character and personal hardship.

Between 2013 and May 2021 2,588 Queenslanders were charged with supplying a schedule 1 drug. 70% of those charged received a prison sentence though not all had to serve time in prison. The court can wholly suspend sentences or set immediate parole release dates meaning an offender spends not time in prison.


What court hears the charge?

The charge will in most cases be dealt with in the District court for the supply of a schedule 1 drug or the Magistrates court for the supply of a schedule 2 drug. Note all matters initially commence in the Magistrates court.

The court has a range of sentencing options available, such as

  • imprisonment
  • intensive correction order
  • probation
  • community service order
  • fine or recognisance.

The court may also impose ancillary orders, such as forfeiture of property, restitution or compensation, or disqualification from driving. In some limited cases, the court may decide to impose no conviction or no further punishment.


Some notable cases

In R v Holmes [2008] QCA 259 a 20 year old offender pled guilty to one count of possession of MDMA, three counts of supplying MDMA (then a schedule 2 drug) and summary charge of possession of money. Offences had been bought to the attention of the authorities when a person became sick at a hotel after consuming a MDMA pill. The offender co-operated with police and admitted to selling MDMA on three occasions. The Court of Appeal overturned a prison sentence and sentenced him to 2 years probation and no conviction recorded

In R v Pratt [2008] QCA 402 a 25 year old offender pled guilty to one charge supplying Methylamphetamine (a schedule 1 drug) and one count each of possession of cannabis and Methylamphetamine. The offender was 24 at the time of the offending and had one minor criminal conviction on her record. The Supply charge involved the supply to 5 friends over an unstated period of time and did not profit from the supply and co-operated with authorities. On appeal the offender was resentenced to 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service, a conviction was recorded

In R v Anable [2005] QCA 208, a 38 years old offender sold $300 worth of methylamphetamine to an undercover police officer and agreed to supply more of the drug at a later date. The offender had no criminal history. She was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment. The Court of Appeal did not overturn the decision. A conviction was recorded.


Can you negotiate with the prosecutor to get a lesser charge or penalty?

Yes, it is possible to negotiate with the prosecutor to get a lesser charge or penalty. This process is called case conferencing. During case conferencing, the prosecutor and the defence lawyer will discuss the facts of the case, the evidence, and the potential penalties. They may then reach an agreement in which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge or the facts are changed to more favourable to the defendant.

There are a number of factors that the prosecutor will consider when deciding whether to agree to a change in charges or facts. These factors include the strength of the evidence, the defendant's criminal history, the defendant's willingness to plead to a lesser charge or the interpretation of the law.

However, it is important to remember that case conferencing is not always successful, only an experienced criminal lawyer can advise on the chance case conferencing will be successful and if so exactly what can be achieved,

We have an article on negotiating charges with a prosecutor


What we have achieved for clients

We have a proven track record of achieving great results for clients charged with supplying dangerous drugs. Here are a few examples:

  • Case 1: Our client was charged with supplying a schedule 1 drug at a music festival. He was young and had no previous criminal offending. We were able to convince the court to impose probation and community service, and to not record a conviction. This meant that he was able to travel to the USA as planned.
  • Case 2: Our client was charged with supplying schedule 2 drugs to friends. We were able to get the court to impose a fine only, and to not record a conviction.
  • Case 3: Our client was charged with supplying a schedule 1 drug. He was young and had no criminal history. The police agreed to reduce the charge, and he was able to plead guilty in the Magistrates Court and receive a fine and no conviction was recorded.
  • Case 4: Our client was charged with supplying a schedule 1 drug. We were able to have the charges dropped on the basis that the police could not prove that he knew the drug was a dangerous drug.
  • Case 5: Our client was charged with supplying LSD. He had bought the drugs for friends and made no profit from the sale. He was only caught because one of the friends wandered away from the party and was found walking down the middle of the street by police. We were able to get the court to impose probation and not to record a conviction.

We have hundreds more examples of great results for clients charged with supplying dangerous drugs. If you are facing these charges, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible. We will fight hard to protect your rights and to achieve the best possible outcome for you.


Do I need a lawyer?

Supplying a dangerous drug is a serious offence that can have severe consequences for both the offender and the society. If you are facing such a charge, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer who can explain your rights.

We understand that being charged with a drug offence can be a very stressful and worrying time. We are here to help you through this difficult process and to provide you with the best possible representation. We have a team of experienced and dedicated lawyers who are committed to fighting for your rights. We will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome, whether that is a dismissal of the charges, a reduced charge, or a lenient sentence.


How do I get more information or engage Clarity Law to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further no obligation information or advice then you can either;

1.       Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

2.       Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

3.       Book a time for us to call you

4.       Email the firms founder This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5.       Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about the charge. You wont be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, this offence can have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  

Read 176 times Last modified on Tuesday, 11 July 2023 15:43
Steven Brough

Steven Brough is a criminal defence lawyer and founder of Clarity Law with over 22 years experience he has appeared in almost every court in Queensland representing clients charged with criminal offences and getting them the best outcome possible.