What is the Drug Penalty Notice Scheme?

Under the Drug Penalty Notice Scheme, the NSW police possess the authority to issue penalty notices, commonly known as on-the-spot fines, for individuals found in possession of small quantities of drugs. This discretion allows the police to choose whether to issue a fine or a court attendance notice, depending on the situation.

The fine is typically $400 and must be paid within 28 days.

You will also not receive a criminal record.

What’s Covered Under the Drug Penalty Notice Scheme:

    • MDMA / ecstasy in capsule form, 0.25 grams or less
    • MDMA / ecstasy in any other form weighing 0.75 grams or less
    • Any other prohibited drug not weighing more than the ‘small amounts’ outlined for personal use.
    • These small amounts are:
      1. amphetamine: 1 gram
      2. cocaine: 1 gram
      3. ketamine: 2.5 grams
      4. LSD: 0.0008 grams
      5. methylamphetamine: 1 gram

The Police’s Discretion

However, these notices come at the officer’s discretion. Penalty notice offences fall under section 333 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW), giving the police the power to decide whether to issue a fine rather than pursue a court attendance notice.

Responding to an On-the-Spot Fine:

  • Pay the on-the-spot fine within the timeframe.
  • Request a review of the fine if you believe your circumstances warrant reconsideration.
  • Opt to have the matter taken to a local court for further deliberation.

In addition, the NSW Government also has other strategies for dealing with drug offences, which you can discover at this link.

We can advise you on your legal options in the event of a drug-related incident, including your legal rights, possible defences and penalties.

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O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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