Being charged with a drug offence can be stressful and confronting.
However, our specialist drug lawyers will be there for you every step of the way.
We will take the time to carefully advise you about the process and the best way forward, which can make the experience a lot less daunting.
Our team has developed techniques over many years to get drug charges dropped early-on in the proceedings, or thrown out of court if your case goes all the way to a defended hearing or jury trial.
We will thoroughly examine the prosecution case to find problems; for example, where you were searched illegally or where there is insufficient evidence to prove that you had knowledge or exclusive possession of the drugs.
We can also identify any defences you may be able to raise to explain or justify your conduct, such as where you were coerced or threatened into committing the offence.
Our specialist drug lawyers will fight hard to have your charges dropped at an early stage, sparing you the time and expense of a lengthy criminal process.
If prosecutors refuse to drop the case, we will provide you with the strongest possible defence to ensure that you have the best chance of winning your case.
In fact, we are regularly able to get costs awarded in favour of our clients after cases are dropped or thrown out.
We all know that role of police is to enforce the law. But it’s important to remember that police have to follow the law too!
Many drug cases are dropped because police have performed an illegal search. While police are allowed to search you within reason, they must have a “reasonable suspicion” that you have an illegal drug upon you.
If the police are not able to prove that they have a “reasonable suspicion,” the charges against you may be dropped and police may be ordered to pay your legal costs, even if they do end up finding drugs on you.
What is a “reasonable suspicion?”
A reasonable suspicion cannot be random – there must be some factual basis to it.
Examples of situations involving a reasonable suspicion include:
- Where a sniffer dog has indicated to a police officer that you are concealing drugs;
- When police have observed you exchanging money for something which looks like drugs;
- When police can smell cannabis inside a car or house.
Situations where reasonable suspicion will not exist include:
- Randomly searching you in an area known for drug crime;
- Where you have been searched because of your prior criminal record;
- Where you appear nervous or agitated while undergoing a random breath test.
What if I consented to the search?
If you have given consent to police to search you, they do not need to demonstrate reasonable suspicion. Examples of consent include where you have voluntarily emptied out your pockets or produced drugs after being asked to do so by police.
Lack of Exclusive or Joint Possession
In some cases, where drugs are found in a common area of shared premises, the charges can be dropped where the police are unable to prove ‘exclusive’ or ‘joint’ possession.
Shared premises refer to a house or car that is shared between two or more people. Common areas include the lounge room, kitchen, bathroom or the boot or rear seat of a car that is owned by someone other than the driver.
Where the police have alleged that you had ‘exclusive possession’ of the drugs, they must prove that the drugs belonged solely to you and nobody else.
Even in situations where the drugs are found in your own room, exclusive possession may not be proved where your partner or someone else has been staying in your room.
However, it can be difficult to disprove exclusive possession if you have already made a confession to owning the drugs, or if there is any evidence proving that the drugs belonged to you – for example, text messages or fingerprints on the bag.
Alternatively, you may be charged with ‘joint possession’ where drugs are found in a common area. In this case, the police must prove that each of the accused persons shared control over the drugs. This may also be difficult to prove without evidence or admissions by each of the accused.
Lack of Knowledge
In circumstances where you had no knowledge of the drugs and you believe that they were ‘planted’ on you, you may be able to have the charges dropped.
The prosecution must prove that you know, or should have known, that the drugs were in your possession. This means that you may be able to have the charges dropped in cases where drugs were planted on you, or left by a friend in your home, work or car, and you didn’t find them after a thorough search. This will also be the case where you got rid of drugs as soon as you found that they were planted on you.
In these situations, we will write to the police and request that the charges be dropped. Alternatively, if you do end up going to court, you will be called as a witness to give your side of the story.
In some cases, there may be insufficient evidence to prove that you supplied or possessed drugs. Examples may include cases where police claim that they saw you dispose of drugs or give them to someone when it is possible that someone else may have put them there.
In these cases, it is possible to get the charges dropped. Even if you do go to court, you will be allowed to tell the judge your side of the story, and the police will be cross-examined by your lawyer to see if there are any inconsistencies in their version of events.
Specialist Drug Lawyer
If you have been charged with possession or supply of a drug, now is the time to get a specialist drug lawyer on your side.
We have the knowledge and experience to assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome. In many serious drug cases, we have been able to get charges withdrawn by proving that police have acted outside the law by conducting illegal searches.
We also have an excellent track record of obtaining section 10 dismissals and conditional release orders for our clients, meaning that no conviction is recorded, sparing you the worry of whether a criminal record will affect your job prospects or travel plans.
We will support you through the whole process – from guiding you through the charges against you and advising you of your options, to helping you obtain character references and access counselling. If you end up going to court, rest assured that we will put forth your case to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
If you’re looking for a firm that will give you the advice you need when other lawyers have let you down, call Sydney Drug Lawyers now to arrange a free first appointment.