Sentences for Drug Trafficking in South Australia


Drug trafficking, or trafficking in a controlled substance, is considered a serious offence. While many people may think having possession of a moderate amount of drugs is not such a big deal, the reality is that in most cases possession of particular amounts of drugs is sufficient to give rise to a presumption of trafficking, and further that the penalty for a first-time offence of trafficking in a controlled drug, whether it be heroin, ecstasy or cocaine, is a sentence of imprisonment. Generally, one can expect a sentence of between 12 months and three years. Only in extraordinary circumstances will a penalty other than one of imprisonment flow from a conviction for trafficking. If the matter is one of trafficking in a large commercial quantity, then it becomes even more serious again with very hefty criminal sentences applying.

South Australian Courts remain, however, bound by the ordinary factors that can operate in favour of a sentence of imprisonment being suspended. It is absolutely essential if you are charged with drug trafficking and intend to plead guilty. These factors, focus on the likelihood of the accused to re-offend, this is determined with reference to a multitude of factors and there are a number of ways that a Court may be convinced, even where the accused has a poor criminal record, that the likelihood to re-offend is minimal.

A suspended sentence is a sentence of imprisonment that does not need to be served right away; effectively an accused will enter into a bond with the Court; in that bond the court agrees not to send the accused to gaol and the accused agrees to be of good behaviour (not commit further crimes) for a period of time as well as some other conditions that are occasionally present. If the accused breaches their bond, then they will not only be sentenced for the new crime but will have to go back to Court for the previous crime and may be required to serve the sentence that was suspended in the first place.

If you’ve been charged or interviewed in relation to drug trafficking, it’s important to speak with expert criminal lawyers at the earliest opportunity. Even before you enter a plea, it’s important to make sure that the evidence has been looked at and that negotiations have been entered into with the Crown. Sometimes, being in the possession of drugs will not be enough to secure a conviction and evidence may exist that rebuts one of the presumptions. It’s also important to check whether any search or intercept that may have taken place was lawful, otherwise the evidence may be inadmissible. With so much at stake, it’s important that drug trafficking matters are treated seriously.

To discuss your matter with one of our team or to arrange for a free case review then call us today on 08 8464 0033 or if you require advice urgently, you can contact us on 0418 421 153.