Drugs use, possession and other crimes

Possession, manufacturing, growing, smuggling, selling and dealing of drugs are drug offences. Use of drugs as well as possession for own use constitutes a drug-user offence, punishable by a fine or maximum six months' imprisonment. The maximum penalty for an ordinary drug offence is two years of imprisonment and for an aggravated drug offence ten years of imprisonment.

In practice most of the drug-cases which are brought to court involve drug use, and the most common punishment is a fine, which is usually under 30 day-fines.

The criteria for an aggravated narcotics offence include the concept of very dangerous substance or large quantities of it; considerable financial profit; if the offender acts as a member of a group organised for the extensive commission of such an offence; if serious danger is caused to the life or health of several people; or if narcotics are distributed to minors or in an otherwise unscrupulous manner. By law, a very dangerous drug refers to a narcotic substance which can cause death by overdose, serious damage to health even after short-term use or difficult withdrawal symptoms.

Trafficking

Drug-dealing and drug-trafficking are defined as more serious offences than the use and possession of drugs for personal use. There is not a specific offence of dealing or trafficking. In practice, aggravating circumstances to the possession, production, import, export will increase the penalties up to 10 years, as the type of offence may change from narcotics offence (max. 2 years) to aggravated narcotics offence.

Substitution Treatment

Prosecution and punishment could be waived if the offence is to be considered insignificant or if the suspect has sought treatment.