A charge of supplying drugs is a serious offence under Queensland laws. Often people charged with supplying a dangerous drug can expect a prison sentence to be imposed by the Queensland Courts. This page is designed to provide more information on the offence of supplying drugs in Queensland and especially those facing the charge in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich.
A person who unlawfully supplies a dangerous drug to another, whether or not such other person is in Queensland, commits the offence “supplying dangerous drugs.” The offense can be committed either in its simple form or the aggravated form. Aggravated form attracts harsher penalties. The offence is “aggravated” when the person who receives the drug is a minor or an intellectually impaired person. Also, it takes the aggravated form if it is supplied to the other person within an education institution or a correctional facility or if the receiver is not aware of the fact that he/she is being supplied with the drug.
Meaning of supply
The word “supply” is broadly defined and means;
- to give, distribute, sell, administer, transport or supply
- any offer to do any of those acts and
- doing or offering to do any act preparatory to, in furtherance of or for the purpose of any those acts.
“Unlawfully” means without authorisation, justification or excuse by law.
In Queensland we have what is known as an extended definition of supply. What this means is acts that you might not otherwise think could be the supply of a dangerous drugs can in fact be considered under the law to be a supply.
Some examples of supplying drugs include;
- Offering to supply a drug or organising to get drugs even if no deal takes place
- Supply a substance that you say is a drug or you believe is a drug even though its not
- Buying drugs for a group of friends by pooling money together to buy in bulk
- Offering or actually introducing someone to a drug dealer
What are dangerous drugs?
The Drugs Misuse Act defines a dangerous drug to be;
- Drugs specified in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation
- A derivative or analogue of a Schedule 1 or 2 Drug
- a thing that has, or is intended to have, a pharmacological effect of a schedule 1 or 2 drug
Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 drugs
Schedule 1 and 2 drugs are listed in the Drugs Misuse Act.
Schedule 1 lists the most serious drugs, including;
- Certain Steroids
Schedule 2 lists the drugs considered by the Queensland Government as less serious than schedule 1 drugs. Drugs listed in Schedule 2 include:
- Magic mushrooms.
What does the prosecutor need to prove?
To prove a supplying drugs charge the prosecution has to establish that;
- The thing was one specified as a dangerous drug by the Drug Misuse Act 1986,
- The drug in question was unlawfully supplied, and
- The alleged person was actually the supplier.
Can you negotiate with the prosecutor?
Yes, negotiations (case conferencing) with the DPP or Police Prosecutor can and most often should occur. Negotiations can occur about many things such as the facts, the appropriate penalty, defences or whether the charge should be withdrawn or reduced.
We have an article on negotiating charges with a prosecutor
What courts 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.
Certain defences that are available for other offences don’t apply to supply of drugs. In some cases it will be an defence if you knew the substance supplied wasn’t a dangerous drug.
In certain circumstances a defence of mistake might be available.
It will take an experienced criminal lawyer to look at the facts and advise if any defences are available.
Can I be charged with other drug offences as well as supply?
Yes, and its quite common. People are often charged with supply and possession. More details on other drug offences can be found here
I sold some drugs but I didn’t make any profit from it, I just sold it for the same price I bought it for. Can I still be charged with supply? - YES
I gave the drugs to my friends as we all put in to buy drugs for a party. Can I be charged with supply? – YES
I sold some drugs but It turned out to be fake and wasn’t a dangerous drug. Can I still be charged with supply? - YES
I sold drugs, I knew it was fake. Can I be charged with supply? – Possibly not
I didn’t sell drugs, a friend wanted to buy drugs and I gave him the name of someone I knew sold drugs, that was it. Can I be charged with supply? - YES
The maximum penalty for the aggravated supply of a drug specified in Schedule 1 is 25 years imprisonment whereas the penalty for the simple form is 20 years. As for the drugs specified in Schedule 2, 20 years imprisonment is for the aggravated supply, and 15 years imprisonment for simple form of the offence.
Possible outcomes include:
- Prison (this can be suspended or a parole date set)
- Intensive Corrections Order
- Community Service Order
The actual penalty depends on a number of factors including;
- The drugs involved
- The amount of drugs
- The amount of supplies
- The period the supplies occurred over
- The offenders age
- The offenders circumstances
- The offenders previous criminal history, if any
In addition the court will likely issue a Serious Drug Offence Certificate. The issue of this certificate may have serious consequences. This certificate may be used by the State as part of an application to obtain an order from the Supreme Court to forfeit assets to the State under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002.
Recording of a Conviction
If the court imposes a prison sentence, even if it is wholly suspended, the court must record a conviction. If however the court imposes a fine or probation then the court has a discretion whether to record a conviction. In those cases the court will look at the following factors
- the nature of the offence; and
- the offender’s character and age; and
- the impact that recording a conviction will have on the offender’s—
- economic or social wellbeing; or
- chances of finding employment.
We have an article on our blog about the recording of a conviction
Some notable cases
In R v Holmes  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  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  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.
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 we have achieved for clients
Case study 1 - Client charged with supplying schedule 1 dangerous drug at a music festival. Client was young and had no previous criminal offending. As it was a schedule 1 drug the charge had to be heard in the District Court. We were able to convince the court to impose probation and community service and not to record a conviction meaning the client could travel to the USA as planned.
Case study 2 - Client charged supply of schedule 2 drugs namely cannabis to friends. The Court agreed to impose a fine only and no conviction was recorded.
Case study 3 – Client charged with supply of a schedule 1 drug. Client was young and had no criminal history. The police agree to reduce the charge and client was able to plead guilty in the Magistrates Court and receive a fine and no conviction was recorded.
Case study 4 – Client charged with schedule a schedule 1 drug, we were able to have the Police drop the charges on the basis they could not prove our client ever thought or knew the drug supplied was in fact a dangerous drug.
Case Study 5 – Client charged with supplying LSD (a schedule 1 drug) , Client had bought the drugs for friends and made no profit from the sale. He was only caught as 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 example of great results for clients charged with supplying dangerous drugs
The police want to talk to me about an allegation of supplying drugs, what do I do?
Do not talk to police without getting immediate advice from an experienced criminal lawyer. You have the right not to give a statement to police and in almost all circumstances this is the best thing to do. We have an article on the right to silence in Queensland
Do I need a Lawyer?
Do not attempt to represent yourself in the court on a drug charge. For minor charges if the court records a conviction against you it may affect your ability to travel internationally and to gain employment. For more serious charges especially those involving schedule 1 drugs then a prison could be imposed.
Why engage Clarity Law?
The most important reasons to engage us are;
- We have fixed prices for all our work meaning you will know exactly what your legal fees will be
- Our experience, we have over 60 years combined experience in drug offences
- Ease of engagement – we don’t make you come into our office unnecessarily as email, zoom calls and telephone work best for most people
- Locations, we have 6 office locations across South East Queensland and appear in all courts from Southport to Brisbane and north to Gympie
How do I get more information or engage you to act for me?
If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;