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Drug Season

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October 3, 2012

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With the Labour Day long weekend just behind us, and the summer months fast approaching, Sydneysiders are preparing for many weekends relaxing and soaking up the sun. It is also that time of year for music festivals. Parklife, the first major mainstream festival of the season was held in Sydney over the weekend. The NSW police praised the majority of the revellers on their good behaviour while noting the offences that allegedly occurred.


According to a NSW Police media release there were six people charged with offensive conduct, twelve with fail to quit offences and 117 with drug offences.


Given that the music festival scene is largely dominated by young people in their late teens and early to mid twenties, these arrests are a timely reminder that there are consequences for antisocial behaviour at festivals, particularly in relation to drugs.


Drug possession is seen by many as a minor offence that will have very little consequence for them. Many people also believe that the police will simply caution a person who is caught with only a very small quantity of drugs. This is not the case. Drug laws in NSW are strict, and penalties for drug offences very much depend on the amount of the drug involved.


For example, the starting point in sentencing for a person caught with one ecstasy/MDMA pill is likely to be the recording of a criminal conviction and a fine. A criminal conviction in itself is a serious matter, and should be treated as such. A conviction may have consequences for certain types of employment, together with future travel opportunities due to visa requirements and police clearances.


For a person caught with four or five pills the penalty can be more severe. This is because the weight of four or five pills is likely to exceed 0.75g, which is the trafficable quantity of the drug. If the weight of the pills exceeds 1.25g then the offence is strictly indictable, meaning that the matter cannot be finalised in the Local Court and must be sent to the District Court where the offender will almost inevitably face a tough penalty.


These consequences often come as a surprise to a person charged with what they consider to be a minor drug offence. If you or someone you know is facing a drug charge, we are happy to help and can be contacted anytime on (02) 9261 4555.

About the Author

John is partner of Armstrong Legal and head of the Criminal Law Division. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with.

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