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Possessing Controlled Precursors

There is federal and state legislation regarding precursor materials. S308.2 of the Criminal Code is Commonwealth legislation. The offence refers to the possession of chemicals that are used to manufacture illicit drugs.This allegation can exist independently of the illicit substance that the precursor can create. Australian Federal Police will try and establish that there was knowledge or someone was reckless as to the transfer, possession or carriage of the material.
Commonwealth criminal matters are heard in state courts. Which court that is will be dictated by the severity of the allegations.
Examples of Possessing Controlled Precursors
  • A search warrant is found and a homemade drug lab is found set up inside a house. Ephedrine, a chemical materials to make methylamphetamine , is found inside the property.
  • A person if found in possession of isosafrole, a precursor chemical required to make ecstasy.
What is the legal definition of Possessing Controlled Precursors?
308.2 Possessing controlled precursors
  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. the person possesses a substance; and
    2. the person intends to use any of the substance to manufacture a controlled drug; and
    3. the substance is a controlled precursor.
    Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years or 400 penalty units, or both.
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 308.2 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.

Elements of the offence
The Prosecution must show that the accused possessed a substance which required authorisation and the possession was not authorised. The accused is taken to have possessed the substance with the intention of using some or all of the substance to manufacture a controlled drug.
Defences to this could be a factual dispute, that the accused did not possess a substance, that the substance did not require authorisation for possession, or that the accused did not intend to use the substance to manufacture a controlled drug. A criminal defence lawyer may also use mental impairment, duress, honest and reasonable mistake of belief, impossibility, lack of intent, and the concept of beyond reasonable doubt.

Questions in cases like this
  • Is the precursor a controlled substance?
  • Were you permitted to be in possession of the precursor?
  • Were you in possession of the precursor?
“Have you been accused of possessing chemicals to make illicit drugs?”
You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

The maximum penalty for Possessing Controlled Precursors (section 308.2 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995) is imprisonment for 2 years or 400 penalty units ($64, 476 at the time of print), or both.