In this section
START OF Criminal justice
START OF Diversion and referral options
END OF Diversion and referral options
END OF Criminal justice
Changes to this area of law
There have recently been changes to this area of law. We are working to review the information on this page and how these changes may affect you. Contact us to get help.
Court diversion is aimed at diverting minor drug offenders from the criminal justice system.
If you are eligible, you can be referred to a drug education and information session rather than receiving a traditional penalty like a fine or probation order.
If you are charged with a drug offence, you should get legal advice.
You will be eligible to attend a drug education and information session if you:
If you have been offered two previous diversions, including a diversion under the police diversion program (see police diversion for a minor drug offence), you will not be eligible for a further diversion.
Eligible drug offences include:
Examples of minor amounts of common drugs include:
The full list of minor drug quantities can be found in Schedule 1 of the Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2005.
If you are under 17 you attend at the Children's Court. A Court diversion officer (CDO) will talk with you. The matter is heard in court and the CDO tells the court if you qualify for the program. The court will send you away and give you a chance to attend the drug education and information session.
If you are 17 or over, you will go to the magistrate’s court. A Court diversion officer (CDO) will talk with you. The matter is heard in court and the CDO tells the court if you qualify for the program.
The court may need you to sign a document called a ‘recognisance’, in which you agree to be of good behaviour for a period of time. The ‘recognisance’ will contain a condition that you attend a drug education and information session.
If you complete the program, the order ends and no conviction is recorded. If you do not complete the program, or you commit another offence during the period of the order you will be in breach of the recognisance order and you may be required to pay an amount of money to the court; and you may be brought back to court for the original offence and given a different sentence.
The drug education and information session starts with a session with a health service provider to prepare a personal plan about your drug taking behaviour. Treatment is voluntary and not part of the recognisance order. The session is strictly confidential. A family member or friend may go with you to the drug education and information session.
Yes. If you are found guilty of an offence in a Queensland court, you will have to pay the offender levy in addition to any penalty or sentence you receive. This applies even if no conviction is recorded.
You may need legal advice if you have
Legal Aid Queensland may provide legal advice about the court diversion for minor drug offences.
These organisations may also give you legal advice.
Community legal centres may give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to see if they can help with your matter.
The Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation.
The following services may also be able to help you. They do not give legal advice.
Queensland courts provides information about the Illicit Drugs Court Diversion Program.
Last updated 26 August 2020