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What is the sentence for Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs in 2024?

Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs is an offence that the courts take seriously. The term ‘supply’ primarily refers to the distribution of drugs and is not something that needs to have payment or reward attached.

If you’re being investigated or charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, you’ll most likely be feeling very concerned about your situation.  It’s critical that you take early legal advice and guidance, as there is a chance that your case may be quashed if you seek and use an experienced drugs solicitor.

Having a criminal record and being separated from loved ones and dependents can have a very negative effect on a person and may impact their future career. Dependents may struggle without being able to access the income that you currently provide.

To help you understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of a conspiracy to supply class A drugs offence, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get a prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Read more information about the offence of Conspiracy to supply class a drugs

More about conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Keep in mind that when it comes to the term ‘conspiracy’, it means to ‘agree’; and in the law, this is interpreted widely. The reason it can be understood so widely is that it is not a term that is defined by legislation. Even being in the wrong place at the wrong time can mean that you can be deemed of ‘conspiring’ to commit an offence. Also, to confuse matters more, there is another classification known as ‘being concerned’ in the supply of class A drugs.

Here are some examples of conspiracy to supply class A drugs that may have led to the situation that you or your loved one now find themselves in.

The actions of conspirators that can result in prosecution include:

Driving a car to collect a shipment of cocaine – although the actual act of driving a car is not an offence, the act of managing the delivery of cocaine is.

Being involved in planning the crime – even if you’re not planning to take part in the crime, the mere act of planning the crime could see you charged with conspiracy.

Participation in the deal – this includes being a courier, financial manager, look-out, go-between, agent, link in the supply chain or involved in the division of bulk drugs. Other roles included are being involved in the reduction of the purity, weighing and packaging or dividing drugs into smaller deals or advertising.

You don’t even need to have the drugs in your possession to be prosecuted for conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Therefore, it’s essential to seek expert legal advice immediately.

Examples of class A drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine (crystal meth)
  • Crack cocaine
  • Cocaine
  • LSD
  • Magic Mushrooms

What is the average sentence for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs?  

For both the supply and making of drugs, which includes the offence of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, the courts penalise heavily.  Sentences can be as much as life imprisonment for any offences that can be classified under the terms of supply or make. In addition, you could receive a heavy fine that will need to be paid.

Even for possession of class A drugs, the maximum sentence is as much as 7 years imprisonment with an unlimited fine, but such a sentence is hardly ever imposed.

The punishment will be in alignment with the judgement of the court based on the damage or harm caused or what may have potentially been caused.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the offence for sentencing purposes?

There are several factors involved in deciding what your sentence should be. We have taken an excerpt from the Sentencing Guidelines to give you an understanding of what factors are taken into consideration when deciding what sentence should be issued to a person convicted of this crime.

Culpability demonstrated by the offender’s role

One or more of these characteristics may demonstrate the offender’s role. These lists are not exhaustive.

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 original source;
  • expectation of substantial financial gain;
  • uses business as cover;
  • abuses a position of trust or responsibility, for example prison employee, 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 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 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 non-commercial basis.

As explained above, every case is unique, and there is no guarantee on what the outcome might be. However, the general process should be that you appoint an experienced legal representative as soon as you are informed that you are being charged. You can then take advice on how to navigate the case that could be complex and frightening.

Once the legal representative talks with you, they will be able to examine what evidence there is against you. Your lawyer can then either work on having your charge dismissed or have it reduced to a lesser charge. For example, a lesser charge that would come with a smaller sentence is the ‘possession of a controlled drug’.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the conspiracy to supply class A drugs sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. The following are some of the other factors considered when the court decides which sentence to give in cases of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. They will look at:

  • Your previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was originally legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for conspiracy to supply class A drugs with a guilty plea?

In recent years, a number of changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

  • ‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.
  • If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.
  • After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.
  • If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of conspiracy to supply Class A drug offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an offence. These are extra elements that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that affect a dependent’s finances, property or activity.

The range of ancillary orders for possession of indecent image convictions include the following:

  • An injunction to prevent drug dealing
  • Confiscation orders
  • Restraint or cash seizure orders
  • Forfeiture and destruction orders
  • In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

Are sentences added to a national information database?

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.


Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

We handle cases in the arena of conspiracy to supply class A drugs regularly and have deep expertise in this field. We can help you by recommending the best course of action to take to mitigate the outcome in your unique case. No matter what size your case is, get in touch.

Many people come to us for help when they’ve been charged with a drugs offence. We know the regulations inside out and will look at every case for the most active defence. Sometimes people are charged in error; if this is the case, we will look to see how we can get your case dismissed.

In short, it’s essential that you are correctly legally represented when you first hear anything about potentially being involved in a drugs offence case. By contacting us as soon as possible, we can typically get you a better result as we will proactively work on your case. We have detailed knowledge of the 1971 Act and the drugs involved in your alleged conspiracy.

In addition to creating a robust defence strategy for you, that may even get you off this crime entirely, we can also put the police under pressure to conclude their investigation. Nobody wants their life put on hold for an indefinite period of time, nor their finances frozen until further notice.

What will happen when I instruct a lawyer?

When you contact us to instruct us to be your lawyer in your drugs conspiracy case, we can then work on finding out the details such as why you are accused. Once you provide us with further information, we can then work on building you a strong defence. We have extensive experience and have handled many conspiracies to supply class A drugs cases.

We have successfully defended a number of clients who have been involved in conspiracy to supply class A drug investigations. Once you know that we are handling your case for you, you’ll feel far more at ease about the situation.

We have a specialist criminal defence team who are very up to date on the law with regards to drug offences. Our team will meticulously prepare a strong defence that may even result in your being acquitted of all offences.

In addition to using our criminal defence team, we have access to a broad network of witness experts. These are the people who can further investigate evidence held against you, study telephones and other communication devices to find proof that you were not where you are accused of being at a time and date. They can also look at other circumstantial evidence and can potentially find breakthroughs that will enable you to have your case dismissed before it reaches the court case.

Arrest & Interview

If you’ve been arrested or charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, it’s essential that you take the guidance of an experienced drug offences solicitor immediately. The police will be looking to secure a conviction against you. They are trained in how to interview people so to trip them up so that they will incriminate themselves.

Besides, the police will seek a search warrant from a judge or a magistrates court so that they can look closely at what you may have at your home or work. They will then go through your personal effects and electronic devices to find further evidence against you.

Whatever the case, it’s vital that you know that under no circumstances should you attend the police station for an interview without a legal professional by your side. Everything that you say and do will be recorded to build evidence against you. Your communication devices such as your phone, tablet and your computer will be confiscated and analysed to secure further evidence against you.

Fortunately, Stuart Miller solicitors have a broad network of expert witnesses that we can call on to build your defence strategy. Many expert witnesses such as drug experts to mobile phone experts, tablet experts and even translators, in case your case has crossed jurisdictions.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our drugs offences solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for conspiracy to supply class A drugs legal help.


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