Drug possession lawyer:  No conviction or criminal record

The picture shows a bag of cannabis laying on the ground.

Best Drug Possession Lawyers

Australian Criminal Law Group are award-winning drug lawyers, with 500+ 5 star Google reviews across our three offices. You can read our reviews here and or read more about our criminal law team here including Joseph Correy, who is recognised as the best drug lawyer in Sydney. 

Criminal records and drug possession

The consequences of a drug conviction can be catastrophic for a person’s employment prospects or travel plans.

It is possible to avoid a criminal record if you have been caught with illegal drugs and choose to plead guilty.   Section 10 – non convictions are possible with the right legal team in your corner.   Australian criminal Law Group’s drug defence lawyers have proven it’s capable of even getting more serious possession charges reduced and no convictions recorded, where maximum penalties would otherwise have included imprisonment.   

If you have been caught with illegal drugs or are even at the risk of being caught, it is important you know and understand how the law works and to have the right legal representation in your corner.   

Read on to learn more about the ways in which the right defence can help and how getting a section 10 – non conviction is possible for drug possession charges. 

Drug possession: How to avoid conviction

The right criminal lawyers can help you avoid a criminal record for drug possession charges.  

Pleading guilty

If you plead guilty to drug possession charges you receive a 25% discount on your sentence, and it demonstrates remorse and contrition, as well as being a consideration as to whether you have good prospects of rehabilitation and are likely or unlikely to re-offend.

Character references

If you can have a number of people write you references in support of your good character, it will work to your benefit. Have them state clearly that they believe you are a good person, your behaviour was out of character, and that you are remorseful. 

Read more about how to write a good reference here.

Write an apology letter

This is an excellent way to show the court your remorse. Judges sometimes look more kindly on a first time offender who is genuinely remorseful and sorry for what they have done.


Treatment with a psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor, is given significant weight by courts sentencing for drug possession.

At sentence a report or letter can be given to the magistrate or judge to explain how it was you came to use drugs, including mental health, and what you have done to address your drug use.

Urinalysis can also be a powerful tool that we use to obtain section 10 dismissals for our clients.

Court programs

The court has a number of programs that are commonly used where a person has been charged with possession of drugs. These include:

  • The Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment (MERIT)
  • The Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Program.
  • Smart Recovery Australia

It is important you do everything you can to avoid such a record. However, if you follow these tips, present yourself neatly and appropriately in court, and talk closely with your legal representative, you will have a better chance of avoiding a conviction.

The penalties for drug possession in NSW

For drug possession, NSW carries a number of possible penalties. If you find yourself in court for possession, in general, the highest penalties will be an $11,000 fine and two years imprisonment.  

Recently, NSW police have refined their rules for on the spot fines for drug possession. 

Under the penalty notice scheme, NSW police can now issue an on the spot fine, known as a penalty notice, for possession of small amounts of drugs at their discretion. The fine is usually $400. 

This applies if you are caught with:

  • MDMD/ecstasy in capsule form, 0.25grams or less
  • MDMA/ecstasy in any other form weighing 0.75grams or less
  • Any other prohibited drug not weighing more than the ‘small amounts’ outlined for personal use. These small amounts are:
    • amphetamine: 1 gram
    • cocaine: 1 gram
    • ketamine: 2.5 grams
    • LSD: 0.0008 grams
    • methylamphetamine: 1 gram

An on the spot fine for drug possession is similar to a speeding fine or parking fine. If you are given a notice like this, you will have 28 days to pay and you will not be required to attend court. You will also not receive a criminal record. Like a speeding or parking fine, you may contest the fine if you wish. However, this will result in court proceedings and the risk of even higher penalties.

Cannabis Caution Scheme

One thing to note is that cannabis is not eligible for the on the spot fine because of the recent cannabis caution scheme. It is more than likely police will only issue a caution for having cannabis, so long as you:

  • Have less than 15grams of cannabis on you
  • Admit to having it for personal use
  • Have no prior drug convictions
  • Are not committing another criminal offence when caught with cannabis
  • Do not have more than two prior cautions for cannabis possession 

Another thing worth noting is that on the spot fines and cannabis cautions are issued at police discretion. Even if it is a first offence, police still have the right to arrest and charge you and send you to court. 

For that reason, it is always recommended to behave politely and cooperatively with police officers. If you are caught in possession of drugs, they will be far more likely to use their discretion if you present as a reasonable and decent citizen. Politeness could prove the difference between a slap on the wrist and lengthy and expensive court proceedings. 

Contact Australian Criminal Law Group

To discuss no conviction for a drug possession offence your, call Australian Criminal Law Group at our Sydney office, Parramatta office, or Blacktown offices or make a website inquiry today.

You can also email us at info@aclawgroup.com.au

Case studies

Case study

Australian Criminal Law Group appeared for a young person charged with possession of four ecstasy tablets at a music festival. The young person had received a section 10 for malicious damage four years earlier whilst at university. 

Our solicitor argued that the receipt of a section 10 years prior did not prohibit the court from using the section a second time. Further, he argued that the previous conviction was more a product of university skylarking than any propensity for criminal behaviour. The Magistrate agreed and dismissed the charge under section 10, recording no conviction.

Case study

Our solicitor appeared for a client, successfully getting a supply charge for ecstasy tablets reduced to Possession.  The client was caught carrying 110 ecstasy tablets at a Future Music Festival resulting in the supply charge.    However, our solicitor successfully convinced the court that the charge should be downgraded to possession given that 88 of those tablets were actually being held for a friend and so, only 22 were his.   For this, the client successfully avoided gaol time, receiving a sentence of two good behaviour bonds without conviction and requiring that the client undertake weekly urine drug testing for a 9 month period.    

Case study

Our solicitor successfully convinced the DPP to withdraw supply charges against a client charged with the supply of 9 grams of cocaine.   Instead, a guilty plea to the charge of possession was made in place of the more serious supply charge.  As a result, the matter proceeded to sentence in the Local Court and the magistrate did not record a conviction. 


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