Have you been charged with intent to supply?

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Paul Dillon


In Brief

If you’re facing charges of intent to supply, it’s crucial to understand the legal complexities involved. Learn about the implications and expert legal guidance here.

Facing charges of intent to supply is a serious legal situation that can carry significant consequences. Whether you find yourself in this predicament due to a misunderstanding, error, or any other circumstance, it is essential to understand the gravity of the charges and the potential legal implications. Especially as the laws can be very complicated, particularly when it comes to knowing the difference between simple drug possession, and possession with intent to supply, whether on a commercial or social supply basis. 

If you have found yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to seek appropriate legal counsel from expert defence solicitors to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome as you navigate the complexities of these charges. 

What does intent to supply mean? 

Intent to supply is a term used to describe a criminal offence related to controlled substances, such as drugs. It signifies that an individual had the intention to distribute or sell illicit substances rather than possessing them solely for personal use. The charge covers the intent to give drugs to a friend and/or to sell drugs for a profit. 

To be convicted, the accused needs to show that they intended to commit this act, regardless of whether they were successful or not. 

How does possession differ from possession with the intent to distribute? 

Possession, and possession with the intent to distribute differ in their legal implications. Possession alone refers to having a controlled substance for personal use with no intention to sell or distribute. 

On the other hand, possession with the intent to distribute involves having illicit substances with the purpose of selling or sharing them with others. Factors like the quantity of the substance, packaging materials, or the presence of scales and cash can indicate the intent to distribute. 

The latter charge typically carries more severe legal consequences, including potential imprisonment and heavier fines, due to the criminal intention associated with it.

What are the possible sentences for intent to supply? 

In the UK, sentencing for any drug offence is a complex matter and will depend upon factors like the nature and classification of the drug, the quantity involved and the offender’s role, be it social supply or for financial gain. 

The Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offences delineate the spectrum of available sentences in supply cases and the ranges vary enormously depending on the factors involved:

Class A

Maximum: Life Imprisonment.

Typical range: Community Order to 16 years’ imprisonment.

Class B

Maximum: 14 years imprisonment and/or an unrestricted fine.

Typical range: Fine to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Class C

Maximum: 14 years imprisonment and/or an unrestricted fine.

Typical range: Fine to 8 years’ imprisonment.

Can you get a suspended sentence for intent to supply?

Yes, it is possible to receive a suspended sentence for intent to supply drugs, but the likelihood of this outcome depends on the specific circumstances of the case, as well as the discretion of the sentencing judge. 

Suspended sentences are typically considered for less serious offences, first-time offenders, or cases where there are mitigating factors that the court deems appropriate for a non-custodial sentence. However, intent to supply is generally viewed as a serious crime and often results in custodial sentences, especially when significant quantities of drugs are involved. 

How can the police prove intent to supply? 

If you have been charged with intent to supply, the police do not need to prove that you physically passed the drug on to someone else, only that you had the intention of doing so. In such cases, prosecutions of intent to supply are usually based on circumstantial evidence, as well as statements made by the accused at the time of the arrest. Even a seemingly innocent statement such as, “I was simply looking after these drugs for a friend,” could incriminate you. 

Other key factors include the quantity of drugs, often exceeding what’s typical considered consistent for personal use, and the presence of items like scales, packaging materials, or large sums of cash that might suggest commercial activity. The location, context, and prior criminal record of the accused can also be considered. 

The examination of digital devices such as phones can also be absolutely critical in an investigation of this type, messages and the movement of the phone itself can be very significant aspects of a case concerning allegations of drug supply.

The prosecution will build a case based on these elements, arguing that the circumstances point to an intention to supply, while the defence may challenge or provide alternative explanations for the evidence presented.

How can Lawtons help if you’ve been charged with intent to supply?

We understand that ordinary individuals can get accused of a crime they did not commit or were not directly involved in. That is why Lawtons, with its expert team of criminal defence specialists, is here to defend you if you face charges of possession with intent to distribute.

Our legal experts can challenge the evidence, question search and seizure procedures, and explore legal technicalities to protect your rights. We understand the gravity of these charges and the potential consequences. 

With our support, you’ll have a dedicated legal team working to secure the best possible outcome, whether through negotiation, reducing charges, or presenting a compelling case in court. Your future is our priority.

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