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What Penalty am I Likely to Receive for my Drug Manufacture Charge?

This article will provide you with an overview of drug manufacturing laws in Australia. Since the offence is a serious one in every jurisdiction, you should seek legal advice is you are suspected of, or prosecuted for, the crime of manufacturing.

Controlled drugs cannot be manufactured without the government’s permission. Controlled drugs are drugs that cannot be possessed without a prescription, including drugs that cannot legally be possessed under any circumstances. Sometimes they are known as “prohibited drugs” or “drugs of dependence.”

Manufacturing controlled drugs means mixing or altering chemical substances to create the controlled drug, as well as extracting or refining the drug from a plant or other natural substance. Manufacturing does not include cultivating a plant.

Penalties depend on amounts of drug manufactured

In most jurisdictions, the maximum penalty depends upon the amount of the drug that is manufactured. For the purpose of determining maximum drug penalties, most jurisdictions divide drug quantities into three categories:

  • Large commercial quantity
  • Commercial quantity
  • Less than commercial quantity

The amount that must be manufactured before it is considered a commercial or large commercial quantity depends upon the drug and the jurisdiction. The maximum penalty for manufacturing within each category also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You should ask a lawyer about the quantity of a particular drug that triggers different penalties in your state or territory.

In many cases, a harsher penalty is authorized if the drug is manufactured with the intent to supply it to a child. In some places, penalties increase if a child is exposed to or injured during the manufacturing process.

Federal law

For the most part, the Australian Federal Police focus on import and export offences. Manufacturing is unlikely to be prosecuted as a federal crime unless the drugs are manufactured with the intent to export them, although federal prosecutors have the power to prosecute any manufacturing case if the drug is manufactured for sale. Most “manufacturing for sale” offences are prosecuted under state or territorial law. Manufacturing a drug for personal use (not for sale) is not a federal crime.

Under federal law, manufacturing a controlled drug for the purpose of selling it carries a maximum sentence of:

  • Life for a large commercial quantity
  • 25 years for a commercial quantity
  • 10 years for any other quantity

ACT

Manufacturing a controlled drug for the purpose of selling it carries the following maximum penalties in the ACT:

  • Life for a large commercial quantity
  • 25 years for a commercial quantity
  • 15 years for any other quantity

Manufacturing any quantity of a controlled drug without the intent to sell it carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.

VIC

Victoria defines the crime of “trafficking” a controlled drug to include manufacturing a controlled drug. The maximum penalties are:

  • Life for a large commercial quantity
  • 25 years for a commercial quantity
  • 15 years for any other quantity

NSW

Manufacturing a controlled drug in New South Wales carries the following maximum penalties:

  • Life for a large commercial quantity
  • 20 years for a commercial quantity
  • 15 years for any other quantity

The prosecution can elect to charge the crime as a summary offence. It is most likely to do so when a drug is manufactured for personal use. If charged as a summary offence, the maximum sentence is 2 years.

QLD

In Queensland, the crime of manufacturing is known as “unlawfully producing a dangerous drug.” The maximum penalty depends upon:

  • whether the drug is listed in Schedule I or II of the Drug Misuse Regulation,
  • whether the drug quantity is specified in Schedule III or IV, and
  • whether the offender is drug dependent.
  • Maximum sentences range from 15 years to 25 years.

WA

In Western Australia, manufacturing a prohibited drug carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

SA

Manufacturing a drug of dependence with the intent to sell it carries the following maximum penalties in South Australia:

  • Life for a large commercial quantity
  • 25 years for a commercial quantity
  • 10 years for any other quantity

Manufacturing a drug of dependence without the intent to sell it carries a maximum sentence of 7 years.

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Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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