Caught by Police Sniffer Dogs with Ecstacy Pills at Dance Parties: Know the Law

Sydney’s Parklife, Fat as Butter and V Festival, the Future Music Festival, and the Mardi Gras! These are just some of the famous festivals around Sydney. Unfortunately, these festivals have become infamous for drug use by recreational users of ecstasy.

Ecstasy is a street term for a range of commonly used party drugs. It is a ‘prohibited drug’ under schedule 1 of the definition section of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1987. A prohibited drug includes heroin, cannabis, methylamphetamine (ice) and cocaine.

How can you get caught?

Major festivals have become a target of police search operations utilizing sniffer dogs. You might also be the subject of the operation at a train station or pubs around Sydney CBD area.

The police must form a reasonable suspicion that you have possession of prohibited drugs to search you. This is likely to happen where a drug detection dog stops next to you, or undercover police see you walking away from them. The police power to search you arises from the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (“LEPRA”), s21(1)(d) & s36(1)(e).

How serious is the offence?

Possessing a prohibited drug is an offence under the section 10(1) of the Act.  The offence will almost certainly be charged with a criminal prosecution even in relation to small or personal amounts of prohibited drugs.

The charge may result in a conviction with a maximum penalty of a fine of 20 penalty units ($2200) and/or a 2 years’ imprisonment. the conviction may be recorded on your criminal record which may have a devastating impact on your employment in the future.

At a trial

The most contentious issue in a trial would be that a prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt you knew that you possessed a drug.

Further, even If you plead guilty to the offence, your conviction might not be recorded against you. The Court should consider several factors to exercise its discretion.


How the trial proceeds will depend on the circumstances of an individual case. To raise the best defence or to reduce a penalty to a minimum, it is vital that you have an experienced criminal defence lawyer should you be charged with possession or supply of prohibited drugs or any other drug-related matters.

Greenfield lawyers are specialists in criminal law defence including drug-related matters. Do not hesitate to contact our office on 02 9708 6832 and make an appointment to see one of our expert criminal defence lawyers.


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