Are you facing a drug offence charge? In this complex area of the law it is crucial that you seek the expert help of a legal team with extensive experience. Contacting Lawtons Solicitors today on 0333 577 0522 to discuss your case could make the difference to its outcome.

What are the laws around illegal drugs in the UK?

Street prices of drugs in the UK are among the highest in Europe, meaning the UK illegal drugs market is extremely attractive to criminals.

The commercial distribution of drugs is the most lucrative stage in the process, from the cultivation and production of the drug to the point of final consumption. If you are found guilty of supplying or possessing illegal drugs, the penalties can be severe and the consequences life-changing.

 

What are the most serious drug offences in the UK?

Whilst drug dealing and the supply of drugs are not considered to be as serious as drug trafficking, both criminal offences still carry a significant sentence and will inevitably impact on every aspect of your life.

As in all drug offence cases, the punishment will depend on aggravating factors, including the defendant’s culpability, plus the quantity and type of the drug.

The complexity of the law means it is essential to seek expert legal advice as early as possible in police investigations to ensure your case is considered in detail. As experts working on your case we will try to obtain the most favourable result on your behalf.

 

What does supplying mean under UK law?

The law in the UK regarding dealing or supply of drugs surrounds the intention of passing a controlled substance to someone else. This means that even if you are simply passing a cannabis cigarette joint between friends, you can be found liable and face consequences. Buying drugs and sharing them between friends would be considered social supply for instance and the consequences if found guilty can still be serious.

The intention (whether for personal use only, which must be proven) and classification of the drugs supplied will influence whether the magistrates’ court or Crown Court deals with your case.

Drugs offences are categorised as ‘either-way’ offences, meaning cases can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court and they can vary greatly in severity. Magistrates make the initial decision about whether a case is so serious that it should be heard in the Crown Court.

 

What types of drug offences are there?

Criminal offences committed under the Misuse of Drugs Act include:

  • Possession of a controlled drug
  • Possession with intent to supply another
  • Supplying another with a controlled drug
  • Offering to supply another with a controlled drug
  • The production, cultivation or manufacture of controlled drugs
  • The import or export of controlled drugs
  • Allowing premises you own, occupy or manage to be used for the consumption of certain controlled drugs, or supply or production of any controlled drug

The Act specifies sentences for possessing and supplying drugs as below:

Drug Class Possession Supply
Class A 7 years, plus a fine Life, plus a fine
Class B 5 years, plus a fine 14 years, plus a fine
Class C 2 years, plus a fine 14 years, plus a fine

 

What are the classifications of drugs?

The Misuse of Drugs Act specifies three classes of illegal drugs:

  • Class A drugs:

Heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth), magic mushrooms

  • Class B drugs:

Amphetamine (other than methamphetamine), barbiturates, codeine, ketamine, synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice and cannabis, cathinone derivatives, including mephedrone

  • Class C drugs:

Anabolic steroids, mild tranquilisers, benzodiazepines, GBL and GHB, khat and BZP

 

What are the types of offences around supplying drugs?

The offence of supplying drugs will be separated into one of five categories by law:

The overall sentence will also be determined by factors such as the quality and quantity of drugs and whether dealing has been cited as part of a larger operation.

In a larger operation, the court will then assess what role you have taken – that of leadership, significant or lesser involvement – to determine your sentence.

 

What should you do if you are accused of drug offences?

If you have been charged with a drug offence you should immediately seek expert legal advice. To help you through the process, it is best to gain legal advice from specialist drug offence solicitors as soon as possible so that all the contributing factors leading up to a police investigation are considered and can be presented fairly in court.

The team of drug offence solicitors at Lawtons is best placed to offer you the necessary support and guidance every step of the way.

 

Contact us

If you need expert legal advice on issues relating to drug offences, contact us to see how we can help you achieve the best outcome in your case.

 

See below for a list of case studies relating to defending clients accused of drug offences:

Drugs supply case – Inner London Crown Court –  February 2018

Damage limitation for client with drugs supply offences– October 2017

Client from St Albans caught supplying drugs avoids immediate prison sentence– June 2017

Mother caught with drugs given suspended jail sentence at St Albans Crown Court– February 2015

 

Useful Links

 

Q&A

 

Are controlled drugs and illegal drugs the same thing?

Controlled drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, methadone and mild tranquilisers can be prescribed by a doctor for medical use. In such cases their possession is not classified as illegal.

 

What are the sentencing guidelines for drug offences?

The starting point and the maximum penalty for supplying drugs are determined by what class of drug is involved. There is a range of sentencing options but the court must give its reasons if it is going to stray outside the range.

 

What is the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA)?

The Misuse of Drugs Act  – also known as the MDA – governs the penalties for the possession and supply of drugs in the UK, based on the class the drugs belong to.