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HOW YOU SHOULD DEAL WITH DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES

Did you know that possession of an Illicit Drug with Intent to sell could face up to 10 years imprisonment?

DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES

If you are found to be in possession of drugs, you may face the following charges:

  • Possession of the drugs (if they’re illicit);
  • Possession of a controlled substance (if they’re prescription and you should not have them);
  • Possession with the intent to sell and supply (if the police think that you are dealing drugs); or
  • Drug trafficking (if you have under your control a very large amount of illicit drugs).

How you are charged depends on a few key factors, namely, the weight or quantity of drugs found, the kind of drugs found, the manner in which they were found and anything else that was found in your possession at the same time.

Most of the time, when drugs are found in a person’s possession, they are charged with a ‘possession’ offence and the amount of drugs found will be the determinative factor in how the charge is dealt with, what court it is heard in and what the applicable penalties are.  It is at this point that you need to seek the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer, as there can be huge differences in the outcome or penalty based on how you are charged.

CASE STUDY EXAMPLE

‘J’ was a client of Tang Law that had been caught with cannabis and prescription medication in his car and then was charged with possession with the intent to sell and supply and possession of a controlled substance. The potential maximum penalties for these offences are:

Possession of a Schedule 4 or 8 poison (controlled substance) – a fine of $45,000 and imprisonment for 3 years

Possession of an Illicit Drug with Intent to Sell or Supply (cannabis) – a fine of $20,000 and imprisonment for 10 years

After J instructed Tang Law and we began to correspond with the police to find the underlying causes for this offending, the matter remained in the lowest jurisdiction, pleas of guilty were entered by J and a report was produced for the Court to consider during sentencing.

Based on all the information provided to the Court, including the submissions made on J’s behalf by his lawyer at Tang Law, the Magistrate decided that the appropriate sentence on this occasion was a 12-month order for J to report to police (supervision requirement) and attend counselling sessions for his drug use problem (counselling requirement). This allowed J to get the help that he needed whilst continuing on with his life, outside of prison.

If you have been charged with the possession of drugs, you may contact Tang Law on (08) 9328 7525 to speak with one of our experienced criminal lawyers.


About Writer

Adam Ward was admitted into the legal profession in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2015 and joined Tang Law in May 2019. Mr. Ward is an experienced Criminal and Traffic Lawyer with extensive experience in representing clients in Courts on all issues relating to Traffic Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Injury Compensation.

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New agricultural visa option for South-East Asian workers

The Department of Home Affairs has announced the introduction of a new agricultural visa, allowing workers from 10 South-East Asian countries to undertake seasonal agricultural work in Australia.

The 10 countries are: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

This visa is aimed at replacing the estimated 10,000 UK citizens that undertake agricultural and other regional work in Australia each year. UK citizens will no longer be required to undertake specified regional work to be eligible for a second Working Holiday visa.

The new visa programme will commence by the end of September 2021.

Contact Tang Law if you would like to know more about this visa option.

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Possession of Money Believed to be from an Illegal Source

If you are facing a charge for the possession of illegal drugs (even a very small amount), then it is a common situation that police may believe that any cash found in your possession has come from selling drugs. Therefore, under Western Australia’s Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (also known as the ‘Criminal Code’), the police can seize such money based on such a suspicion (section 417 Criminal Code).

The penalty for possession of property (including cash) believed to be unlawfully obtained, is up to 7 years imprisonment, or if the charge stays down in the Magistrates Court, the penalty is up to 2 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $24,000. Further, if this charge is proven in court, then the cash that the police seized does not get returned to the person from who it was taken.

How to prove your innocence and getting your money back

In a situation like the one described above, when an amount of cash has been seized by police and a charge has been laid against the person under section 417 of the Criminal Code, it can be a real uphill battle to prove your innocence. In a situation like this it is necessary to either be proven Not Guilty at trial or, even better, to get the charge discontinued before it even goes to trial. This is where an experienced criminal lawyer can help.

If the charge for the money that the State allege was unlawfully obtained relates to drugs (as is often the case), then it may be hard to prove there is a reasonable excuse for having such cash in your possession, especially if that amount of cash is large. At this point Tang Law’s experienced team can help to prove the truth of the situation; that you earnt or were given this money legally. This is not easily done, but it certainly can be done…and has been done!

Case Study Example

In a case that Tang Law had recently, a client of ours was found with over $5,000 cash in his possession, along with a very small amount of recreational drugs. The police charged this man with possession of the drugs and possession of the cash, which they were saying was suspected to have been obtained through illegal means.

Through lots of negotiation with the Police Prosecutor’s office, the collection of evidence in support of our client’s position, and the writing of legal submissions, we were able to separate the charges; so that the young man pleaded Guilty to having the drugs (for his own use) and the charge for the cash was dropped. This meant that we could then get the lowest possible fine for the possession drugs charge, and our client got his seized money returned to him!

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence in Western Australia, give us a call on 9328 7525 and book your appointment today.


About Writer

Adam Ward was admitted into the legal profession in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2015 and joined Tang Law in May 2019. Mr. Ward is an experienced Criminal and Traffic Lawyer with extensive experience in representing clients in Courts on all issues relating to Traffic Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Injury Compensation.

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Compensation for Victims of Crime

If you are injured or suffer any other kind of loss due to a crime being committed by someone else, then you may be able to claim compensation.

This is also true for the families of an individual that is killed during the commission of a crime, in order to cover the expenses that they suffer after the loss of a loved one.

The Application Process

Compensation claims for injuries as a result of a crime being committed are made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2003 (WA) and any such order has a current limit of $75,000.

There is a 3 year time limit to lodge such a claim, however, in certain circumstances an extension of time may be granted.

Once an application has been submitted, the Criminal Injuries Compensation team at the Department of Justice will give your matter to a Case manager, and then a well-trained Assessor will determine the amount that you may be entitled to.

The documents that will need to be submitted on your behalf should always be prepared carefully and properly ahead of time, these may include:

  • The Application form;
  • A Statement of Events (for the crime/s that led to your suffering);
  • A Victim Impact Statement; and
  • Medical or Psychological reports that can help to substantiate your claim.

What Losses Can You Be Compensated For

As well as for the general pain and suffering that you have suffered as the direct result of a crime, you may also be entitled to compensation for the following:

  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • loss of income
  • medical or psychological treatment expenses
  • other incidental expenses (such as travel or loss/damage of property)

Proving the Crime

A crime does need to have been committed in order for an application for Criminal Injuries Compensation to be successful, but even if no one is convicted, you may still be able to get fair and reasonable compensation.

As long as the Assessor is satisfied that the offence occurred and your losses were suffered as a result of that offence, there is an avenue through which compensation can be claimed.

It is important to help the police/prosecutors to bring the culprit to justice however, so cooperation is essential if any details of the offence are required from you. A good lawyer can be a massive help to assist in communications with prosecutors on your behalf, and remember, there is extra support available through Victims of Crime; an initiative through the Western Australian State Government.


About Writer

Adam Ward was admitted into the legal profession in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2015 and joined Tang Law in May 2019. Mr. Ward is an experienced Criminal and Traffic Lawyer with extensive experience in representing clients in Courts on all issues relating to Traffic Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Injury Compensation.

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The Law Society of Western Australia’s Lawyer of the Year Award 2021

Congratulations to Peter Le, the winner of The Law Society of Western Australia’s Lawyer of the Year Award 2021!
Peter has 20 years of legal experience, working in private practice, as in-house counsel and for local government. Peter continues to provide excellent legal services to our clients in many areas of law, including general commercial, corporate, property, construction and major projects.
It is an honour to have Peter’s achievements recognised.

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