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Obtaining Drugs of Dependence by False Representation

– section 78 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
Obtain Drugs
This charge is generally laid in situations where a person knowingly, by false representation, obtains or attempts to obtain a drug of dependence from a person authorized by or licensed under this Act to possess, manufacture, sell or supply the drug of dependence.
Examples of Obtaining Drugs of Dependence by False Representation
  • Using fake identification to purchase a drug of dependence from an authorised seller
  • Using a fake prescription to purchase a drug of dependence from an authorised seller
  • Lying about an illness or injury to receive a drug of dependence from an authorized seller
Questions in cases like this
  • Did you use fake identification?
  • Did you use a fake prescription?
  • Did you lie to obtain medical marijuana?
What are some of the possible defences to Obtaining Drugs of Dependence by False Representation?

The following defences are available to a person charged with this offence:

  • Factual dispute about what was said or done by the accused
  • Honest and reasonable mistake as to fact
  • The drug is not a drug of dependence

You should call us to discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers if you have been charged with this offence.

Pleading guilty or not guilty has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

FineThis is the sort of matter that will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

If found guilty, the maximum penalty which the Court may impose is a fine of 20 penalty units (around $3,300) or 1-year imprisonment, or both.

What is the legal definition of Obtaining Drugs of Dependence by False Representation?

Section 7 of the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 authorises the Health Secretary to nominate specialist medical practitioners to administer medicinal cannabis. It is an offence under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 to mislead a specialist medical practitioner to provide medicinal drugs of dependence.

“Can the Prosecution prove you lied to obtain a drug of dependence?”
Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 78 of Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Elements of the offence

The prosecution must prove that the accused:

  1. obtained or attempted to obtain a drug of dependence from a person authorized by or licensed under the Act or the regulations or the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016, or the regulations under that Act to possess, manufacture, sell or supply the drug of dependence;
  2. obtained or attempted to obtain a prescription or order for a drug of dependence from a registered medical practitioner, dentist, pharmacist or veterinary practitioner or a person authorized by this Act or the regulations or the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016, or the regulations under that Act to issue or possess the prescription or order;
  3. caused or induced or attempted to cause or induce a registered medical practitioner to administer by injection or otherwise, a drug of dependence to him; or
  4. caused or induced or attempted to cause or induce a pharmacist or a person authorized by this Act or the regulations or the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016, or the regulations under that Act to supply a drug of dependence, to dispense a prescription or order for a drug of dependence, if the first-mentioned person knew the prescription or the order to have been obtained in contravention of this Act or the regulations or the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 or the regulations under that Act.
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts

From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria heard 26 cases (591 charges) of Obtaining Drugs of Dependence by False Representation. Most of these cases resulted in Community Correction Order (30.8%) and financial penalties (30.8%). Imprisonment was also imposed in 19.2% of the cases, adjourned undertaking/discharge/dismissal in 11.5%, and wholly suspended sentence in 7.7%.

Most of those who were sentenced to financial penalties were in the “$1,000 < $2,000” category (94.7% for aggregate), although the highest category imposed was “$10,000 < $20,000” (1.5% for aggregate). Of those who were sentenced to prison, the majority was sentenced to a term that is less than 3 months (40.0%). The longest prison sentence was between 12 and 18 months and this category was imposed in 20.0% of those who were given prison terms.1

Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.2
 
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Other important resources

 



[1] SAC Statistics – Drugs, Poisons And Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) : s 78(a) – obtain a drug of dependence from an authorised person by false representation < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/9719_78_A.html >
[2] Suspended Sentence | The Sentencing Advisory Council < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/sentencing-options-for-adults/suspended-sentence >