Use of a Drug of Dependence

Use of a Drug of Dependence

In Victoria, Use of a Drug of Dependence is found in section 75 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who uses or attempts to use a drug of dependence without a lawful excuse to do so.

Have you been accused of Use of a Drug of Dependence? If so, you should contact us to speak with one our lawyers who can help you get a great outcome. In certain circumstances, it is possible to ask the Police to recommend you participate on the Criminal Justice Diversion Program (‘Diversion’). This will mean you can walk away from Court without a finding of guilt being recorded against your name.
Melbourne Drug Lawyers
Police Interview
We can give you some important information about how to handle the Police interview process. We can advise you of your rights and obligations, so you do not say something you do not have to. We can advise you:

  1. How to handle the Police interview,
  2. The consequences of answering questions during interview,
  3. The consequences of providing information you are not required to.
The starting point is that the Police do not interview you in a search for the truth. They believe you have committed an offence and they are just trying to get admissions or information to prove their belief. Do not be under any misapprehensions, the Police are not on your side.

Make sure you speak with us before you speak with the Police or agree to attend a Police interview.

If you feel that you will become overwhelmed during the Police interview, you should think about having one of our lawyers attend the Police station with you to sit in on the interview.

Pleading Not Guilty
If you decide to plead not guilty to a charge of Use a Drug of Dependence, one of lawyers can advise you about your prospects of a finding of not guilty. We can also prepare a defence strategy for you, which in case of Use a Drug of Dependence, normally requires an expert.

Pleading Guilty
If you decide to plead guilty, it is best to speak with one of our lawyers first because we can speak to Police about recommending you for Diversion. This is a fantastic outcome because a finding of guilt for drug offences can affect your employment.

Our lawyers have enormous experience in dealing with drug charges, particular on Use a Drug of Dependence. We have a long track record of achieving great outcomes.
Defences to this charge can be:

  • Authorisation or license;
  • Duress;
  • Factual dispute;
  • Honest and reasonable mistake of belief;
  • Wrongful identification;
  • Lack of intent or mental impairment.
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 Use a Drug of Dependence (s75 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981) is a $4,757.10 fine or 1 year imprisonment, or both.

It is unlikely that you will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for this charge unless the offending breaches a Community Corrections Order or some other form of community based / deferred sentence. However, if you are found guilty of this charge a term of imprisonment is a possibility. It is important that you talk to a lawyer and properly prepare your case.

Elements of the Offence
To prove this charge, the prosecution must show that the accused used or attempted to use a drug of dependence. Two elements must be proven: (1) that the substance in question was a drug of dependence; and (2) that the accused used or attempted to use that substance.

Element 1: The substance in question was a drug of dependence
Section 4 of the Act outlines substances which are said to be a drug of dependence. This includes:

  • Any form of the drugs specified in Parts 1 and 3 of Schedule Eleven to the Act, whether natural or synthetic;
  • The derivatives and isomers of the drugs specified in Parts 1 and 3 of Schedule Eleven to the Act;
  • The salt of the abovementioned drugs, derivatives and isomers;
  • Any substances that are included in the classes of drugs specified above; and
  • The fresh or dried parts of the plants specified in Part 2 of Schedule Eleven.
Click here to visit Schedule 11 of the Drugs Act.

Further, unusable portions of a drug (such as the stems, roots and stalks of the cannabis plant) are still considered to be drugs of dependence, so long as they fit within the definition specified by section 4.

Element 2: The accused used or attempted to use a drug of dependence
Evidence such as CCTV, witness statements and admissions can be used to support the claim that a person used a drug of dependence.

An example of when this element of the offence would be made out is if a person makes admissions to using a drug of dependence in a police interview.