A Dubbo man caught in the toilets at the Commercial Hotel with half a gram of cocaine has been spared a conviction.
Thomas Norman Potter, 20, was in the men's toilet near the outdoor VIP room about 11.30pm on July 17 when police arrived for a business inspection.
According to police, two officers entered the male bathroom when they immediately heard the sounds of "someone loudly snorting and sniffing".
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The officers looked underneath the door of the stall and saw two sets of boots standing closely together, neither of which appeared to be using the toilet inside.
When asked to step out, Potter and another man in his 20s came out of the stall.
Police asked the two if they had any drugs on them, when Potter opened his wallet and pulled a small plastic bag containing 0.5grams of cocaine.
Potter was arrested and taken to Dubbo Police Station.
In Dubbo Local Court on Wednesday, Potter pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited drug.
Defence solicitor Matthew Quill said his client was held in "high esteem" by his character references tendered in court, and was a young man making efforts with getting on with his life.
However, the court heard Potter had been convicted of high-range drink-driving seven months earlier, in February.
"In the context of offending he has acknowledged he's made some poor decisions around his use of alcohol," Mr Quill said.
"He's very remorseful and taking steps to address his issues around alcohol and decision making."
The court heard Potter was a second year plumbing apprentice, and had recently been accepted into university for social work. Mr Quill argued a conviction would affect his future employment options.
Magistrate Theresa Hamilton said while she was concerned with the driving offence months prior, she recognised his young age, early plea of guilt and prospects of rehabilitation.
Potter was sentenced to a 12-month conditional release order.