Introduction to drug offences

The law relating to drug offences in Victoria includes state, federal and extra-territorial drug offences. Drug offences in Victoria can lead to serious penalties. Legal advice is available from Victoria Legal Aid or a community legal centre.

Always seek legal help

This chapter outlines the most common drug offences and their penalties. However, because the law concerning illegal drugs is complicated and highly technical, anyone charged with a drug offence is strongly advised to seek legal advice.

Relevant laws

The law concerning illegal drugs in Victoria is derived from two main sources:

the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) (“DPCSA”) as amended; and

the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (“Criminal Code”) as amended.

Other sources of law that regulate drugs in Victoria are:

the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) (“Customs Act”); and

the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988.

Together, these four pieces of legislation create state, federal and extra-territorial drug offence laws. This chapter covers most of the common drug offences under these laws. It does not deal with offences involving medical practitioners, chemists or licensed sellers of drugs.


NOTE

From 1 July 2015, 1 penalty unit (pu) equals:

$151.67 under Victorian state law

$110 under Commonwealth law.

For more information, seeA note about penalty units” at the start of this book.