Drug Charges FAQs

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Drug Charges FAQs

On this page:

  • What is the Definition of Drug Supply?
  • What is Deemed Supply of a Prohibited Drug?
  • Defending a Deemed Supply Charge

What is the Definition of Drug Supply?

Supply includes to sell, barter, distribute, agree to supply, offer to supply, keep or have in possession for supply, or to send, forward, deliver or receive for supply, or authorize, direct, cause, suffer, permit or attempting any of those acts or things. The definition is set out in Section 3 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act.

What is Deemed Supply of a Prohibited Drug?

A person who has in their possession more than the traffickible quantity of drug is ‘deemed’ to have the drugs for the purpose of supply unless they prove that such possession was not for the purpose of supply.

Defending a Deemed Supply Charge

The traffickible quantity of a prohibited drug is sometimes ‘not very much’ and often no more than the person in possession would use for themselves. The most obvious example is for ecstasy. Possession of more than 0.75g of ecstasy normally involves possession of more than 2 tablets. Many ecstasy users will either use more than 3 tablets, or buy in bulk of 5 or more tablets because it is cheaper to do so. They do not necessarily realize that the law deems them to be a supplier. Many criminal defence lawyers would argue that the traffickible quantity of this drug is set at an unrealistically low level.

Quite often a person charged with supply prohibited drug under the deeming provisions of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act will be allowed to plead guilty to Drug Possession instead of supply.

In determining whether to accept a plea to possess prohibited drug instead of supply, the prosecution will look to determine whether there were any other indicia of supply – such as lists containing names and amounts; resealable plastic bags, scales, the amount of drugs located, money, telephone messages (SMS) as well as the circumstances under which the person came under notice of police.

If there is no substantial indicia of supply, and provided there is not a significant quantity of the drug, or a previous conviction for supply perhaps, the prosecution will often consider taking a plea to possession.

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