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Sentencing for production of drugs offence

What is the sentence for production of drugs offence?

The UK law on the production of drugs states that it’s an offence to produce any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect.

cannabis cultivation

Drugs have been divided into three different classes, namely Class A, Class B and Class C.

Class A contains drugs such as ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack and methadone in addition to methamphetamine and magic mushrooms.

Class B contains drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids including Spice and cannabis in addition to amphetamine, codeine, ketamine and barbiturates.

Class C is benzodiazepines, khat, GHB, GBL, anabolic steroids and BZP.

Production of controlled drugs includes the acts of cultivation or manufacture.

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 production of drugs 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.

More about the production of drugs offence 

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 of production of drugs offence

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.

What is the average sentence for production of drugs offence?  

Depending on the particulars of your specific case, you may be given a prison sentence for your role in the production of drugs 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 the offence of the production of drugs, 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.

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

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:

  • Your previous conviction(s)
  • 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

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.

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 a non-commercial basis.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the productions of drugs offence sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. In the production of drugs offence cases, they may include:

  • Whether the defendant is disabled or mentally ill
  • The age of the defendant, i.e. if they are particularly young their age may affect their level of responsibility
  • If there are previous, relevant or recent convictions
  • Suspect shows a considerable level of genuine remorse
  • A previous good character with exemplary conduct
  • If there is a learning disability or mental disorder linked to this offence
  • There have been demonstrative steps made to address this behaviour

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for the production of drugs offence with a guilty plea?

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.

  • ‘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 the 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 trial. In theory, the ten per cent 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 the production of drugs 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.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of drug offences include:

  • An injunction to prevent production, supply, importation or exploitation of a drug
  • Confiscation order
  • Travel restriction order
  • Forfeiture
  • Restraint orders

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 work undertaken 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.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

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 the production of 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?

Our Criminal Solicitors have substantial experience defending individuals being investigated or prosecuted for the production of drugs.  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.

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 production of drugs 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 the production of drugs offence legal help.

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