Are you facing drug trafficking charges?

MK Law

Michael Kuzilny from MK LAW has been working in the Criminal Justice System of Victoria for over 30 years. MK LAW are market leaders when it comes to domestic violence /assault charges and intervention orders.

At MK LAW we have decades of experience in swiftly sorting out domestic violence situations with Victoria Police and the Courts, so that you can go back to your home and lead a happy and peaceful life; and work on making the relationship more solid and loving.

Michael Kuzilny fully understands life can be tough; and so can relationships. Sometimes life can get so stressful that couples start arguing, along with other life stressors, domestic situations can come out of no-where and are often unexpected. The causes of domestic violence can range from stress, depression, anxiety, other people influencing parties in the relationship, alcohol and drugs, financial hardship, work problems or simply not being able to communicate effectively.

Drug Trafficking includes conduct such as preparing, manufacturing, exchanging and propositioning others to sell drugs. It also includes offences such as possession of drugs with the intent to sell.

Drug Trafficking Offences are provided in various pieces of legislation, notably the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (known as the Drugs Act) and the Crimes Act 1958.

Drug Offences in Victoria are classified as either summary offences or indictable offences. Summary Offences are less serious and are tried in the Magistrates Court, while Indictable Offences are more serious and are tried in the County Court or the Supreme Court.

MK Law can provide 24/7 legal advice regarding charges of this nature by calling 1800 130 120 immediately.

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We can assist in the following matters:

Trafficking in a Drug of Dependence: 

This offence is relevant when an accused has been found guilty of trafficking a drug in a low (personal) quantity. The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment, of 20 years imprisonment if it occurs in a school/in a public place within 500 metres of a school.

Commercial Drug Trafficking:

A ‘commercial’ quantity of drugs is defined differently dependent on the drug in question. In general, it is presumed that a commercial quantity is an amount of drugs that can be used by an individual in multiple transactions. The maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.

Large Commercial Drug Trafficking:

Like Commercial Drug Trafficking above, the quantity involved is dependent upon the drug in question, although it will be a higher quantity than a Standard Commercial Amount. This is the most severe category in Trafficking. If found guilty, the penalties can be very serious. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

How we can help you

Drugs Law in Victoria is extremely complicated and significant legislative resources have been devoted to this area of law. This is evidenced by the fact that the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 is a comprehensive piece of legislation, specifically focussed to Drugs Law. Therefore, in order to navigate the laws and understand what is relevant to a particular case, a legal professional must be engaged. The team at MKLAW are all experienced in this area of law and we provide a broad range of services to focus on getting a positive outcome for all our clients.

The services we provide are as follows:

  • Representation at police interviews
  • Bail Application
  • Legal Advice on the defences available to you
  • Legal Representation at all stages of court proceedings, including pre-trial disclosures, arraignment, trial and appeal if necessary

Often, Drug matters involve multiple charges. This may mean that it is appropriate to plead guilty to some charges and Not Guilty to other charges. We can assist with the following:

  • Advise on which charges to plead guilty to
  • Advise you on the implications of your specific plea
  • Apply for the remaining charges to be withdrawn
  • Advise you of your eligibility for a Diversion Program, which will give you the chance to avoid a criminal record
  • Help you carry out the conditions for recommendation to the Diversion Program
  • Represent you at Diversion Hearings, if you are granted a Diversion

The team at MKLAW is committed to provide expert legal assistance to ensure positive resolution in our client’s matters.

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Legislation

An individual can be charged with a drug offence under either State or Commonwealth law.  In Victoria, there are to key legislative provisions that we must refer to, including: 

  • The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Cth)
  • The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Drugs Act), and 
  • Commonwealth drug offences are provided under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

Section 4 and section 5(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Cth), states that it is illegal for an individual to have a controlled drug(s) in their possession, whether lawfully or not, with the intention to supply it to another individual or individuals who has no legal right to possess it.   

Usually when an accused person is charged with a Commonwealth drugs offence this is as a result of an attempted or actual importation of a drug of dependence detected through the post or at the Australian borders. Those cases are enforced either through the Australian Federal Police (AFP) or in co-operation with Victoria Police. 

Types of Charges

There are diverse groups of drug offences, including Use, Possession, Trafficking, Cultivation, Manufacturing and Importing of drugs. Typical drugs used, include Cocaine, Cannabis, Heroin, GHB, Ketamine, LSD and Methamphetamine. Regarding drug offences in Victoria, ‘use’ means consuming a drug or getting it into your body. An individual ‘Possesses’ a drug if they knowingly have physical control or custody of it.

Possession includes where drugs are on land or premises occupied by the possessor, or in any location that is used, enjoyed or controlled. ‘Trafficking’ drugs means selling, manufacturing, possessing and offering the drug for sale. In Victoria, drug trafficking offences are determined contingent on the amount of drugs trafficked or the amount that the offender possesses at the time of detection by police.

There are four (4) trafficking offences under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Drugs Act), including: trafficking a drug of dependence (least serious type of trafficking a drug), trafficking a drug of dependence to children, trafficking a drug of dependence in a commercial quantity and trafficking a drug of dependence in a large commercial quantity. It is an offence to ‘Cultivate’ drugs, including seeds or a cutting of a plant.

The penalty for drug offences vary significantly and depends on the seriousness of the crime. Less significant drug offences are managed in the Magistrates Court of Victoria. Examples include an individual being arrested who is found to be in possession of a trafficable amount of drugs. Depending on the situation, a sentence can vary from a diversion to good behaviour bonds up to imprisonment. Sentences increase in duration for more serious offences including the degree of sophistication or for re-occurring offending. The most prevalent penalty for trafficking drugs within the Magistrates Court is a Community Corrections Order, with court-ordered drug treatment and voluntary community work.

Serious examples of drug offences are heard in the higher courts, including the Supreme Court of Victoria. These instances are typically dealt with way of long jail sentences. The quantity of drugs, i.e., seized is not always the determinative factor in assessing the seriousness of a trafficking offence. To understand when a drug offence may be heard in the lower Courts such as the Magistrates Court, please see link on indictable offences heard summarily.            

The sentencing process for drug offences can often be quite thorough and includes many factors. This is known as the sentencing synthesis. The sentence of an accused person may include their individual’s personal circumstances and, the maximum penalties provided by law compared to the current sentencing practices for a particular fact pattern. An accused persons criminal record for relevant offending may aggravate the ultimate sentence. An individual with no prior criminal history might be eligible to have their case managed via a ‘diversion program’ depending on the seriousness. For first time offenders caught possessing drugs of dependence for personal use, the Victorian Police have the discretion of issuing a caution. This means that no charges are laid on the condition that the accused person attends a drug related counselling program. In this case, a first time offender will avoid a criminal record. Police may issue a maximum of two (2) cautions. To obtain a caution:

– The individual must prove that the drug offence occurred,

-The drugs should only have been possessed for individual use,

– Police should be satisfied that the individual was either using or in possession of an illicit substance, 

– The overall quantity of drug(s) must be a small amount as laid out in the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Drugs Act),

– The individual should participate in a clinical assessment and begin a drug treatment program within five (5) working days of initially being given the caution.  

First time drug offenders who have their cases heard in the Magistrates Court ordinarily do not go to jail, due to the Victorian sentencing law which provides that a jail sentence should only be imposed as a last resort. In more sophisticated drug cases, the Police might seize monetary sums and take assets believed to be proceeds of the offence. Offenders must be mindful that if they intend to plead guilty to their drug offence, there might be flow on consequences to their assets which needs to be considered.  

The maximum penalty for cultivating drugs related to trafficking is fifteen (15) years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for cultivating commercial amounts of drugs is twenty-five (25) years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for a large commercial quantity of drugs includes a fine of five-thousand (5000) penalty units and/or life imprisonment.    

Representation in the Courtroom

Facing a drug offence can often be a very stressful and traumatic time as the penalties can be significant and life changing. Lawyers at MK Law have a thorough understanding of the legislation and common law and how these rules may best be applied to give you the best defence representation possible. If you are facing drug offence charges in Victoria, It is imperative to retain a lawyer at the beginning of the matter. 

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Why choose us

The complexity of Victorian Criminal Laws requires a seasoned legal representative to navigate the turbulent waters. With over 30 years of legal experience, the team at MKLAW appreciate this complexity. For an unrepresented accused, proceedings may well be nerve-wracking and distressing, because of the lack of knowledge of the rules of evidence – what is admissible, when to object to a statement for the witness for the prosecution, etc. – or the rules of the court and how proceedings are conducted. Your case will be significantly compromised as a result. An accused represented by an inexperienced lawyer is not in a much better position.

With the potential loss of freedom or property at stake, this is where you need the MKLAW team. Our lawyers have decades of experience in criminal defence and have represented countless clients charged with both serious and light offences before Victorian courts, with very high rates of success.

We know that the period of a criminal trial can be a confusing and emotional time for the accused and their family. Thus, in all criminal matters that we handle, we treat our clients with the utmost compassion. All information provided to us is treated in a confidential and respectful manner.

Our team is diligent, efficient and works fast to ensure we meet all court deadlines, and our services are reasonably-priced.

Contact

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Phone: 1800 130 120
Email: marcus@mklawfirm.com.au