‘Trafficking in a Drug or Drugs of Dependence – Large Commercial Quantity’ is an offence contrary to s 71 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (the Act).
This offence has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. In addition to imprisonment, the court can impose a fine of up to $792,850. It is a statutory requirement that the court impose a gaol sentence for this offence. This means that the court must imprison someone if they are found guilty of this offence.
This offence is characterised as a ‘serious drug offence’. On the conviction of a person for a serious drug offence, the court must make an order declaring the person to be a serious drug offender. The Court of Appeal has said that this is the type of offence which should carry substantial gaol terms. The court has also said that there is not a gradation of offences where you get a lesser sentence because you have trafficked in marijuana than someone who has trafficked in cocaine or heroin.
This type of charge is heard in the County Court and cannot be heard in the Magistrates’ Court. There is a presumption against getting bail for this charge which means that the court will lock you up unless they believe that there are exceptional circumstances for you to be released on bail.
Elements of the Offence
To prove this offence, the prosecution must show that the accused intentionally trafficked or attempted to traffick in a drug or drugs of dependence not less than a large commercial quantity of the drug/drugs of dependence and without being authorized by or licenced to do so under the act.
It is necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused had knowledge of the nature of the substance and of the quantity of the substance at the time of the commission of the offence.
The law surrounding this simple proposition can be very complex. Given the complexity of drug law, you should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged.
Defences to this charge can be:
- Factual disputes
- Honest and reasonable mistake
- Wrongful identification
- Lack of intent
- Mental impairment
Any offence committed after 1 February 2018 for the offence of Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence Large Commercial Quantity will be subject to standard sentencing.
The standard sentence for the offence of Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence Large Commercial Quantity is 16 years.
This is the sentence that, taking into account only the objective factors affecting the seriousness of the offence, is in the middle of the range of seriousness.
For the purposes of assessing objective factors affecting the seriousness of a particular offence, matters personal to a particular offender or class of offenders are irrelevant.
The assessment must be done wholly by reference to the nature of the offending.
When sentencing an offender for a standard sentence offence, a court must give reasons for imposing that sentence. The court must refer to the standard sentence for the relevant offence of Trafficking in Drugs of Dependence Large Commercial Quantity and explain how the sentence that it imposed relates to that standard sentence. Standard sentences do not apply to people under 18 years of age at the time of committing the offence.
Case study related to the charge of Trafficking in a Drug or Drugs of Dependence – Large Commercial Quantity:
You may also visit this page to view sentencing decisions by Victorian County Courts for the offence of Trafficking in a Drug or Drugs of Dependence – Large Commercial Quantity.
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.