Show - What the Law says on Drug Manufacture? +

Section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 - Possession of prohibited drugs

(1) A person who has a prohibited drug in his or her possession is guilty of an offence.

(2) Nothing in this section renders unlawful the possession of a prohibited drug by:

(a) a person licensed or authorised to have possession of the prohibited drug under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 ,

(b) a person acting in accordance with an authority granted by the Secretary of the Department of Health where the Secretary is satisfied that the possession of the prohibited drug is for the purpose of scientific research, instruction, analysis or study,

(b1) a person acting in accordance with a direction given by the Commissioner of Police under section 39RA,

(c) a person for or to whom the prohibited drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied, or

(d) a person who:

(i) has the care of, or is assisting in the care of, another person for or to whom the prohibited drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied, and

(ii) has the prohibited drug in his or her possession for the sole purpose of administering, or assisting in the self-administration of, the prohibited drug to the other person in accordance with the prescription or supply.

Show - What penalties exist for Drug Manufacture? +

Section 21 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 – Penalties

The penalty for an offence under this Division is a fine of 20 penalty units or imprisonment for a term of 2 years, or both.

*It should be noted that these are the maximum penalties for this type of offence.

Penalties & Sentences available drug crimes in NSW include:

Section 10 –  Avoid A Criminal Conviction

Under Section 10 of the Criminal (Sentence Procedure) Act 1999 the Courts have the discretion to not record a conviction on a person who is found guilty of a particular drug offence in New South Wales. Generally, the Court will only issue a Section 10 for the less serious drug matters and certain circumstances of the matter will need to be present to allow for the Courts to exercise such discretion. Often when a Court does issue a Section 10 they will also issue the defendant with a Good Behaviour Bond for a specified period of time. Contact one of our Drug Lawyers to discuss whether you may be in line to possibly obtain a Section 10 for your matter.

Court Fine

A Court imposed fine is probably the most common type of penalty handed down by a Court. The amount of the fine will be determined by the Judge or Magistrate and a number of factors will be taken into consideration when deciding how much the amount of the fine will be. Such factors would include the defendants employment status, their ability to pay the fine, the seriousness of the offence and whether any financial gain was made by the defendant through the offences.for less serious drug offences.

Good Behaviour Bond

The Courts have the ability to place a defendant found guilty of drug crimes on what is called a Good Behaviour Bond. This is basically where the defendant signs an undertaking to be of good behaviour by not committing any further crimes within a specified period of time. If the defendant does not commit any further crimes within the period of the Good Behaviour Bond then that bond will automatically expire at the end of the specified period. However, if the defendant does breach the Good Behaviour Bond within the specified period of time then the defendant can be brought back before the Court and re-sentenced on the same matter on which they received the Good Behaviour Bond for plus any other new additional offences they may have committed. The Court can place a person on a Good Behaviour Bond for a period of time anywhere up to 5 years from the time of sentence. The Court has the power to exercise such a Good Behaviour Bond under Section 9 of the Criminal (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

Community Service Order

One particular type of non-custodial penalty that the Court often hands down is a Community Service Order, otherwise known as a CSO. Basically a Community Service Order will mean that the defendant will need to report to Probation and Parole Services who will then assess their suitability to perform certain community types of work. If the defendant is unsuitable for performing Community Service work due to being unfit or some other medical reason then this may exclude them from performing such an order which means the Court may have to consider other forms of penalties or sentences. Probation and Parole Services may also recommend that the defendant perform specific self-help programs to help them overcome problematic issues they may have. The Courts have the power to exercise a Community Service Order under Section 8 of the Criminal (Sentence Procedure) Act 1999.

Suspended Jail Sentence

A Court can issue a term of imprisonment however decide to suspend the period of imprisonment by placing the defendant on a Good Behaviour Bond under Section 12 of the Criminal (Sentence Procedure) Act 1999. If the defendant does not breach the Good Behaviour Bond within the specified period then they will not have to be subjected to incarceration. However, if they do breach the Good Behaviour Bond during the specified period then they may have to serve out the remainder of the period in full time custodial imprisonment. It must be noted that a Suspended Jail Sentence can only be issued by a Court where the term of imprisonment imposed on the defendant is not more than 2 years.

Intensive Correction Order 

As of 1 October 2010 the Intensive Correction Order (ICO) replaced the sentence of Periodic Detention. The Intensive Correction Order is a form of punishment which is basically 1 step away from a term of full time imprisonment. A Court can only issue a sentence for an Intensive Correction Order where the term of imprisonment is less than 2 years.

A person who is sentenced to an Intensive Correction Order may have specific conditions attached to their sentence such as:

a) Reside only at a premises approved by Probation and Parole Services.

b) Be subject to random unannounced home visits.

c) Submit to searches.

d) Be subject to drug and alcohol testing.

e) Be subject to electronic monitoring.

f) Comply with curfews.

A breach of any additional conditions set by the Court could see the defendant serve out the remainder of the Intensive Correction Order period in full time custody.


A term of imprisonment is the most severe form of punishment that a Court can hand down to a defendant as it means that the person will lose all of their usual freedoms enjoyed by member of our community by being locked away in a correctional facility, otherwise known as jail or prison.

Drug crimes in New South Wales are considered extremely serious offences and most drug crimes are punishable by terms of imprisonment. The Courts will certainly assess the charges and also whether there are any other more appropriate forms of punishments other than jail however many drug crimes do carry lengthy terms of imprisonment.

Other Similar Offences & Penalties in NSW:


Attended Burwood Court for a charge of drug possession which happened at the StereoSonic Music Festival in November 2013. My lawyer was able to persuade the Court to not record a conviction. I received a Section 10 & am extremely happy with the result.

- Vanessa

Information on Drug Offences & Issues

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White-Knight-Logo-150x150 is a specialised division of Beazley Singleton Lawyers located at Suite 1405, The Chambers, Level 14/370 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 1300 232 953