The criminal offence of trafficking in dangerous drugs is found in section 5 of the Drugs Misuse Act.
Trafficking is a term that is widely misunderstood and has different meanings depending on what part of Australia you are in.
In Queensland the language in section 5 is as follows -
A person who carries on the business of unlawfully trafficking in a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime.
Trafficking is not defined anywhere else in the Drugs Misuse Act.
What does "trafficking" actually mean?
In essence, trafficking is being involved in the supply of illegal drugs for money. It can involve one transaction or many. If you buy drugs with the intention of selling them to other people, you are trafficking.
What are the penalties for trafficking?
Trafficking is the most serious offence in the Drugs Misuse Act and regularly attracts the highest penalties. Most people convicted of drug trafficking are sentenced to terms of imprisonment.
The maximum penalty for trafficking a schedule 1 dangerous drug is 25 years. These charges are dealt with in the Supreme Court.
The maximum penalty for trafficking a schedule 2 dangerous drug is 20 years imprisonment. These charges are dealt with in the District Court.
On 29 August 2013 changes were made to the law requiring anyone convicted of trafficking who is sentenced to jail to serve 80% of their sentence before they are eligible for parole. (Most people convicted of other offences are only required to serve about 1/3 to 1/2 of their sentence before they are eligible for parole) Previously, only people sentenced to 10 years or more were automatically required to service 80%.
Serious drug offender certificates
Drug trafficking is one of the offences that can result in the automatic confiscation of ALL of the offenders assets, regardless of how the assets were acquired.
Read our section on Serious Drug Offender Confiscation Orders for more details on this new law.