This chapter outlines the most common drug offences and their penalties. This chapter does not deal with offences involving medical practitioners, chemists or licensed sellers of drugs.
Always seek legal help
The law concerning illegal drugs is complicated and highly technical. Therefore, anyone charged with a drug A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). is strongly advised to seek legal advice (see Chapter 2.4: Legal services that can help).
The law concerning illegal drugs in Victoria is derived from two main sources:
- the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1981 (Vic) (‘DPCS Act’) as amended; and
- the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (‘Criminal Code’) as amended.
The other laws 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 Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute. create state, federal and extra-territorial drug offence laws.
For the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, one penalty unit (pu) equals:
• $165.22 under Victorian state law
• $222 under Commonwealth law.
See ‘A note about penalty units’ at the start of this book.