You may have been contacted by the police about being involved in a drug offence. In this situation, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you can do to give yourself protection against being imprisoned.
The courts can be a frightening place, especially if you are likely to be found guilty. The convicted are typically handed a harsh prison sentence.
To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of drug offences, 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 Drug offences
There are several drug-related offences, and your case may involve you being part of any of the following categories of drug crimes:
When passing sentencing for any of these drug offences, the evidence will be classified as being in one of four categories. These categories examine areas such as the class of drug, the quantity of the drug, and the role the individual played.
Whatever your unique circumstances are, it’s critical that you do not attend a police interview without being accompanied by an experienced solicitor with first-hand knowledge of defending drug offences. You may be invited by the police for a ‘chat’, or they will tell you that they want you to explain to them your version of events. Whether it’s a telephone conversation or a meeting, do not speak to the police without a lawyer. Any communication could be used as evidence to prove you’re guilty.
You may have been falsely accused drug offences
In some cases, our clients have been falsely charged with drug offences. It’s possible that there has been some confusion about who is involved. If this sounds like something that has happened to you, we may be able to get your case dismissed before it reaches court.
Under no circumstances should you attend the police station without a qualified and skilled legal representative. Doing so could put you at risk of being incriminated.
Depending on the particulars of your specific case, you may be given a prison sentence for any drug offence in addition to ancillary orders.
For example, if your case is being heard in the Crown Court, and you have been found guilty of possession of intent to supply a Class A drug, you could be sentenced to life imprisonment and given an unlimited fine to pay. The maximum prison sentence for this crime with either Class A or Class B drugs is 14 years and you may also be given an unlimited fine to pay.
Sentences handed out at Magistrates Courts are the most lenient. You may be given 6 months imprisonment and with a fine of £5000 for Class A drugs.
Drug offences are referred to in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Depending what you have been convicted of, you may get a sentence of life in imprisonment, or any sentence below this including community service. Being charged under this offence involves a severe risk of imprisonment.
The information that judges are given with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the primary factors that judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.
The following factors are considered when the court decides which sentence to give. The court will look at:
The following is an extract from the Sentencing Guidelines which are provided to judges to decide upon penalties.
Where the operation is on the most serious and commercial scale, involving a quantity of drugs significantly higher than category 1, sentences of 20 years and above may be appropriate, depending on the role of the offender.
Culpability demonstrated by offender’s role
One or more of these characteristics may demonstrate the offender’s role. These lists are not exhaustive.
Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. In general drug offence cases, they may include:
In recent years, several 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.
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.
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.
Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of drug offences include:
As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.
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 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.
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 drug offences, 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.
(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|
|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|
Our Criminal Solicitors have substantial experience defending individuals being investigated or prosecuted for drug offence charges. With an aggressive attitude to Criminal Defence, we are committed to being pro-active in fighting your case, rather than reactive. We have successfully challenged the admissibility of crucial prosecution evidence and moved to make applications to dismiss Possession with drug offence charges altogether. We are fluent with contesting evidence obtained secretly using covert surveillance and we have very good relationships with mobile phone / cell-site analysts who can give evidence in your favour.
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 drug offences lawyers and drug crimes 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 possession with drug offences legal help.