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Importation of Steroids

The importation of steroids is a serious offence.  The maximum penalties range from monetary fines through to significant periods of imprisonment. The following article has been written by one of our lawyers and gives an overview of the law relating to steroid importation.

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    Charges and Maximum Penalties

    The choice of charge and the maximum penalty applicable will largely depend on the weight and quantity of the steroids involved.

    If the quantity is below what is referred to as a “Tier 1” quantity, then the most common charge is importing a prohibited substance, s.233 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).  The maximum penalty is a fine of $110,000.  There is no period of imprisonment attached to this offence.

    If the quantity of the steroid is over a “Tier 1” quantity, then you may be charged with an offence under s.233BAA of the Customs Act 1901, importing a Tier 1 good.  The maximum penalty for that offence is 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $110,000.  Given the period of imprisonment that is available, this is obviously the more serious offence.

    What is a Tier 1 Good?

    Tier 1 goods include a large range of goods in addition to steroids.  The Customs Regulations 1926 (Cth) lists Tier 1 and Tier 2 goods.

    In relation to steroids, any anabolic or androgenic substances in excess of the critical quantity of 20 grams are a Tier 1 good.

    It is important to note that 20 grams relates to the pure quantity of the substance, so if a total weight of pills is 100 grams, however the purity is only 1%, the total critical quantity is well below the Tier 1 threshold.

    What is Importation?

    The concept of “importation” has recently been clarified.  A new definition of “import” has been inserted into the Commonwealth Criminal Code and includes bringing a substance into Australia; or dealing with the substance in connection with its importation.

    There has been very little judicial consideration of the extent of this new definition, however it appears to widen the scope of conduct that could constitute “importation” to actions after the substance physically arrives in Australia.


    Upon a finding of guilty, the likely sentence will depend on a number of factors, one of the most important being the quantity and purity of the steroids imported.  Other facts that will be relevant include:

    • Whether the importation was part of a sophisticated arrangement
    • Whether there is any evidence to suggest that the importation was motivated by financial gain
    • The offenders’ criminal record.
    • Whether the importation was isolated or part of ongoing conduct

    Because the importation of steroids is a federal offence, you will be sentenced in accordance with the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). Contact one of our experienced criminal lawyers for advice on the likely penalty you will receive.