It is an offence under section 12 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking 1985 Act to self-administer or use a prohibited drug.


A person can be charged with this offence if they swallow, inject, smoke, ingest or otherwise consume a prohibited drug. They can also be charged if they are caught attempting to do any of these things.

Behaviour that may constitute the offence

Examples of behaviour that may constitute this offence include:

  • admitting to police that the cigarette you are smoking is marijuana;
  • being found by police about to inject a syringe containing heroin into your body;
  • smoking ice and posting a video online; or
  • being found snorting cocaine in a nightclub.


Possible defences to this charge include establishing that the drug was not a prohibited drug or that you have lawfully obtained a script for the drug.


The offence is a summary offence and can only be dealt with by the Local Court. The maximum penalty for this offence is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.

The court may consider the following factors in determining the appropriate sentence:

  • The seriousness of the offence;
  • The accused’s criminal history;
  • Any rehabilitation or treatment the accused has completed;
  • Whether the accused can demonstrate prior good character;
  • An early guilty plea;
  • Other factors the court considers relevant.

The court can impose the following sentences depending on the circumstances of the offending conduct and the accused’s subjective circumstances:

  • Section 10 dismissal
  • Conditional Release Order without conviction
  • Conditional Release Order with conviction
  • Section 10A (conviction and no other penalty)
  • Fine
  • Community Corrections Order
  • Intensive Corrections Order
  • Sentence of full-time imprisonment

If you have been charged with using a prohibited drug, call Karnib & Co Lawyers at any time on 0450503696 or email us on [email protected] to arrange a free consultation. For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime anywhere around the world.