Hudson Marshall Solicitors

DRUG OFFENCE

This area of law is unique and complex. What follows is a brief summary of the law. While it is not, and should not be relied upon as legal advice, it may assist you with some of the questions you might have. As always, consult a criminal lawyer should you need criminal advice.

Hudson Marshall Solicitors is the trading name of Hudson Marshall Solicitors Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

drug offence solicitors London, UK

Are you facing Drugs charges and looking for an experienced criminal defence solicitor in London?

Allegations related to Drug Possession or Supply can have devastating consequences for your reputation, your career and your liberty. That is why contacting us for advice as early as possible is critical. This can extend to the point that you feel an allegation might imminently be made against you. We specialise in making representations to the Police to avoid you being charged and need to go to court in the first place.

We also have extensive experience helping individuals defend themselves successfully against Drug charges. We are able to identify key weaknesses in a prosecution case so that even if you have already been charged, we can request that the Crown Prosecution Service review a case with a view to it being stopped before trial.

Our experienced solicitors will walk you through every step of the process and ensure you get the best possible representation for your defence. So, if you have been accused of any Drug offence, we are the go-to lawyers in London for expert legal advice and representation.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for comprehensive defence services.

Am I in ‘Possession’ of a Drug?

  • YES, if you knew or suspected that you were in possession of any drugs
  • YES, if the drugs were in your physical custody or under your control
  • YES, if you merely ‘forgot’ that you had the drugs
  • NO, if you had no knowledge at all of the drugs
  • NO, if you have already consumed the drug
  • NO, if it was your intention to destroy the drugs or to hand them into the Police

Common Drug Offences

Supply Offences / PWITS – Possession with Intent to Supply

It is an extremely serious offence to be in possession of a controlled drug and have an intention to supply or distribute that drug to another person.

To be charged with this offence, police must demonstrate:

  • Possession of a quantity inconsistent with personal use
  • Documents/Devices that confirm a future intention to supply or evidence of previous offers to supply.[The Police will always seek to seize and gain access to mobile telephones, and this is frequently the main or only evidence against people in such cases]
  • Possession of ‘uncut’ drugs or drugs in an unusually pure state suggesting proximity to a manufacturer or importer
  • Possession of a variety of drugs that indicate intent to supply rather than enjoy personally
  • Drug-related equipment that is in the care or control of the suspect – i.e. weighing scales, cutting implements, or wrapping

In relation to these points, it is worth noting that there is no specific quantity prosecutors are looking for to charge for intent to supply.

Production Offences

It is an offence to have some identifiable participation in the process of producing a controlled drug by manufacture, cultivation, or any other method. This offence requires the prosecution to prove:

  • Evidence that a controlled drug has been produced.
  • Evidence of some link between the suspect and the process of production (e.g. providing suitable equipment or labour)
  • Evidence that the suspect was aware of the controlled drug’s production.

Occupier Offences

It is an offence to be an occupier of a premises where the production of controlled drugs occurs. You do not have to own or rent the premises in question. It is enough that you have a degree of control over it to exclude certain people from coming in. The fact that the accused is a trespasser or squatter offers no defence in law. To be charged, the accused must knowingly permit either the:

  • Production or attempted production of a controlled drug or
  • Supply or attempted supply or offer to supply the controlled drug; or
  • The preparation of opium for smoking; or
  • The smoking of cannabis, cannabis resin, or prepared opium.

In some cases, turning a blind eye may be sufficient for prosecution. However, mere suspicion is not. As always, these points must be proved to the satisfaction of the Court.

What Sentence Will I Receive for These Offences?

Sentences are highest in cases relating to Class A drugs (e.g. Cocaine/Heroin). You may still be imprisoned for offences relating to Class B drugs (e.g. Cannabis)

Judges use the culpability/harm intersection for many offences to help determine the offence category and corresponding starting point.

Judges must consider the class of controlled drug concerned in the offence, the quantity, and whether the offender had any direct contact with users. The greater the ‘role’ played by a defendant in the enterprise, the stronger the sentence.

How is the sentence worked out?

For possession, the sentence is determined by class of drug, along with any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

If the offence is possession with intent to supply, supply, production or importation, the court will determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused.

Culpability is a measure of the offender’s role in the offence.

Harm is indicative of the type and quantity of the drug concerned.

Your Role in the Supply of Drugs - Culpability

The sentence you receive will be dictated by the quantity of drugs you are said to have supplied and the role within any such enterprise that you play.

Below are the factors that a court will consider in deciding your role and, thereby, the severity of the sentence that you will receive.

Leading Role:

  • Directing or organising buying and selling on a commercial scale
  • Substantial links to and influence on others in a chain
  • Close links to the original source
  • Expectation of substantial financial gain
  • Uses business as a cover
  • Abuses a position of trust or responsibility, for example, a prison employee or medical professional.

Significant Role:

  • Operational or management function within a chain
  • Involves others in the operation, whether by pressure, influence, intimidation or reward
  • Motivated by financial or other advantage, whether or not operating alone
  • Some awareness and understanding of the scale of operation
  • Supply, other than by a person in a position of responsibility, to a prisoner for gain without coercion

Lesser Role:

  • Performs a limited function under the direction
  • Engaged by pressure, coercion, intimidation
  • Involvement through naivety/exploitation
  • No influence on those above in a chain
  • Very little, if any, awareness or understanding of the scale of operation
  • If own operation, absence of any financial gain, for example, joint purchase for no profit, or sharing minimal quantity between peers on a non-commercial basis.

The Type & Quantity of the Drug Supplied - Harm

Category 1

  • Heroin, cocaine – 5kg
  • Ecstasy – 7,000 tablets*
  • MDMA – 5kg
  • LSD – 250,000 squares
  • Amphetamine – 20kg
  • Cannabis – 200kg
  • Ketamine – 5kg
  • Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (for example, ‘spice’) – very large quantity indicative of an industrial scale operation

Category 2

  • Heroin, cocaine – 1kg
  • Ecstasy – 1,300 tablets*
  • MDMA – 1kg
  • LSD – 25,000 squares
  • Amphetamine – 4kg
  • Cannabis – 40kg
  • Ketamine – 1kg
  • Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (for example, ‘spice’) – large quantity indicative of a commercial operation

Category 3

Selling directly to users OR Supply of drugs in a custodial institution

  • Heroin, cocaine – 150g
  • Ecstasy – 200 tablets*
  • MDMA – 150g
  • LSD – 2,500 squares
  • Amphetamine – 750g
  • Cannabis – 6kg
  • Ketamine – 150g
  • Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (for example, ‘spice’) – smaller quantity between categories 2 and 4

Category 4

  • Heroin, cocaine – 5g
  • Ecstasy – 13 tablets*
  • MDMA – 5g
  • LSD – 170 squares
  • Amphetamine – 20g
  • Cannabis – 100g
  • Ketamine – 5g
  • Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (for example, ‘spice’) – very small quantity

Note – where the offence is selling directly to users or supplying in a custodial institution the starting point is not based on quantity – go to category 3

Aggravating factors may increase the severity of the sentence. Examples include:

  • If the possession was in a school, prison or licenced premises
  • Evidence of “county lines” exploitation
  • If the drugs were cut with harmful substances
  • If the drugs were of high purity
  • Evidence of community impact

Mitigating factors may reduce the severity of the sentence. Examples include where the offender:

  • Has no previous or relevant convictions
  • Has shown remorse and/or is of good character
  • Was using cannabis to help with a medical condition
  • Is taking steps to address their addiction
  • Has a serious medical condition
  • Lacks maturity, or has a mental disorder or learning disability
  • Is the sole or primary carer for dependent relatives

Sentencing Example for Supply of Class A drugs

For a ‘street-dealer’ of a small quantity of a Class A drug, the prosecution will generally try to place the defendant into a significant role. It will also be said that the category of harm falls into category 3 as they are selling directly to users.

Cases that fall into ‘significant role’ and category 3 harm have a range from 3 years, 6 months imprisonment to 7 years imprisonment.

As illustrated, sentences for these offences are likely to result in a period of imprisonment. If you are convicted of such an offence, our lawyers can help you establish that you played a LESSER role rather than a SIGNIFICANT or LEADING ROLE. If we can help you achieve that, there may be a possibility of avoiding a prison sentence.

The following are the sentence ranges and maximum sentences for 3 classes of drugs (A-C):

  • Possession with Intent to supply Class A: Range: Community Order to 16 years custody / Maximum: life sentence
  • Possession with intent to supply Class B: Range: Fine to 10 years custody/ Maximum: 14 years custody
  • Possession with intent to supply Class C: Range: Fine to 8 years custody/ Maximum: 14 years custody

CONTACT HUDSON MARSHALL SOLICITORS TODAY

If you are being investigated for or have been charged with engaging in any drug offence and are looking for a robust defence solicitor in London for legal advice or representation, Hudson Marshall Solicitors can help. Our solicitors and advocates have extensive experience in a broad range of drug offence-related issues.

As one of the leading defence specialists in the UK, we strive to provide our valued clients with clear, concise, and professional advice, no matter how complex the case. Our highly experienced team of solicitors commit themselves to achieving the best result possible for those whose causes we take on. We are on your side.

We offer our defence services to clients throughout England and Wales. Therefore, when facing serious criminal allegations, trust Hudson Marshall Solicitors to be the first line of your defence.

Contact our compassionate, plain-speaking, proactive team today at 0800 368 9939 to schedule a consultation.

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