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Drug Offence and Supply Solicitors

Being found guilty of supplying drugs can have life-changing consequences.

If you are being prosecuted for a drug offence related to the supply of drugs, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in this area of law as soon as possible. This way, your specialist solicitor can work with you to ensure the best possible outcome in your circumstances.

Drug offence and supply: what does the law say?

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 contains the main offences relating to the misuse of controlled drugs.

Section 4 of the Act covers drug supply offences. This includes not only suppling a controlled drug, but also offering to supply and being concerned in the supply or an offer to supply of a controlled drug.

Other drug supply-related offences include possession with intent to supply and aggravated supply which has surrounding circumstances.

In the UK, the drug offence of supply surrounds the intention of passing a controlled drug to another person. Even sharing drugs, such as a joint of cannabis, between a group of friends can still result in you committing the drug offence of the supply of a controlled substance. Drug supply includes the act of distribution of the drug and there is no requirement for proof of payment or reward.

This means that if someone buys drugs and then shares them between their friends, this could still be seen as social supply and if found guilty of this offence, there can be severe consequences.

What evidence is required to prove the intent to supply drugs with regards to possession with intent to supply?

The intention to supply a controlled substance may be proven by various types of evidence including surveillance evidence, admissions from those involved and inference.

Evidence which could infer an intent to supply drugs will normally include a number of different factors (sometimes only one is required), such as:

  • the person possesses more drugs than just for personal use
  • the person possesses a number of different drugs
  • the person possesses uncut drugs
  • the person possesses drugs in portions, looking like they are ready for sale
  • the person has weighing scales or other drug-related equipment
  • the person has written records of their customers

Which court deals with drug offences?

Factors including the classification of the drugs (more on this below) and the intention of the person involved, will effect which court deals with a drug offence and supply case.

Cases involving drug offences can be heard in either the Crown Court or the Magistrates’ Court. The Magistrates’ Court will decide, based on the seriousness of the case, whether or not it should be heard in the Crown Court.

What are the different classifications of drugs?

There are three main classifications of drugs in the UK.

Class A

Class A drugs include heroin, magic mushrooms, LSD, crystal meth and cocaine.

Class B

These include cannabis, codeine, barbiturates, synthetic cannabinoids and amphetamines.

Class C

Class C drugs include benzodiazepines (diazepam), anabolic steroids, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and khat.

What happens if I am convicted of the drug offence of supplying drugs?

This depends on the class of drugs that you have been found guilty of supplying.

If you are convicted of supplying a Class A drug, you could face life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

For the supply of Class B drugs, the maximum sentence is 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine. The supply of Class C drugs is the same.

The sentence you receive will also be affected by various other factors, including the quantity of drugs involved and whether the supply of the drugs is part of a larger operation.

In the case of a larger operation, the court will look at your role within that operation (whether you were a leader, for example) in order to decide on a suitable sentence.

Being found guilty of a drug offence can seriously affect your future. For example, you may not be able to visit some countries and you may find yourself unable to continue with your career.

What other types of drug offences are there other than the supply of a controlled substance?

There are a number of different criminal offences which fall under the Misuse of Drugs Act including:

  • The offer of supply of a controlled drug
  • Possession of a controlled drug
  • Possession with the intent to supply
  • Importation and exportation of controlled drugs
  • The production of controlled drugs

Is the supply of drugs the most serious drug offence in the UK?

While drug trafficking is viewed as a more serious drug-related offence than drug supply, the supply of drugs is still a serious criminal offence and those who are convicted can be given lengthy prison sentences.

What are the aggravating factors in drug offence and supply?

The aggravating factors, which can result in a more severe punishment if you are convicted, include the class and quantity of the drug involved, previous convictions and exposing others to more than usual danger (drugs cut with harmful substances, for example).

The presence of a weapon (if not charged separately) and attempts to conceal or dispose of evidence (again, if not charged separately) can also be viewed as aggravating factors.

In addition, if you were found near a school or youth facility with the controlled drugs, this will be viewed as an aggravating factor which could attract a higher penalty.

What are the mitigating factors in drug offences?

Factors which can reduce the seriousness of the punishment include supplying a drug to which you are addicted, no previous convictions, mistaken belief surrounding the type of drug (the reasonableness of this belief will be taken into account) and remorse.

As this is an extremely complex area of law, it is vital that if you are accused of any drug offence, including supplying controlled drugs, you seek legal advice from a legal professional experienced in this area of law as early on as possible in your case. Your solicitor can then work with you to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome.


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