Drug Charges – Importing or Exporting Drugs

Drug importation and drug exportation offences are taken seriously by the Criminal Justice system.  There is a strict approach to the implementation of penalties for offenders found guilty of the importation and exportation of border controlled drugs or plants, due to the effects the supply of controlled drugs has on the wider community. The import of drugs in particular is regarded as a key link in the chain of drug supply, and as such is a drug offence which is very much the focus of state and federal police.

The Criminal Code Act 1995 sets out the elements and penalties for the charge of importing or exporting border controlled drugs.  The penalty imposed is dependent on the type and quantity of the drug.  Obviously the higher the quantity of drug and the more involved you are in the importation/exportation, the more serious the penalty you receive will be.

There are three quantity ranges identified in the Criminal Code Act 1995.  These are:

  1. Importing or exporting a border controlled drug.
  2. Importing or exporting a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug.
  3. Importing or exporting a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.

Examples of the differences between marketable quantities and commercial quantifies for different types of drugs are:

Marketable quantity Commercial quantity
Cannabis 2.5 – 99 kilograms100 + kilograms
Ecstasy 1.5 – 499 grams500+ grams
Cocaine2  grams – 1.99 kilograms2+ kilograms
Amphetamines 2 – 749 grams750 + grams
Heroin 2 grams – 1.49 kilograms1.5 + kilograms


How can a criminal defence lawyer help you?

A criminal defence lawyer with specialised knowledge of the law relating to drug charges can assist you in determining whether or not you have a defence. Possible defences may include:

  1. That you did not know that the substance was a border controlled drug, or that you made an honest mistake about what the substance was.
  2. That the substance that was imported/exported was not a border controlled drug, or that the quantity that was imported/exported was not a marketable/commercial quantity.

If you are found guilty of the offence for which you have been charged, there are a number of penalties available for the Court to consider.  These include:

  • a fine,
  • the imposition of a good behaviour bond,
  • a community service order,
  • suspended sentence,
  • an intensive correction order or
  • a full time custodial sentence.

The court will look at all the circumstances of your case before deciding which penalty is appropriate.

A criminal defence lawyer with specialised knowledge of sentencing procedure and the law will be able to guide, and assist throughout your sentencing proceedings and ask that the court consider an outcome that is most suitable to your own personal circumstance.

You need a highly specialised criminal defence lawyer with a wide range of experience in drug importation/exportation offences.

If you have been charged with an offence of this nature and require help, call us on (02) 9261 4281.