You may have read about Importation of drug cases in the news where somebody has been asked to bring a bag or parcel to a friend. When the person arrives at the airport, they discover that inside the bag there is a concealed cavity that contains a large quantity of class A drugs.
When a drug importation investigation takes place, you’ll understandably find this to be a very worrying time. You may be concerned that you won’t be able to pay your rent or mortgage, you may worry your family won’t have enough income to eat. Your entire world will feel unstable, unsettled and uncertain.
Here we have some of the most common questions that our clients ask, with their answers. We aim to provide you with the guidance and support that you need at this difficult time. If you have a question, but you cannot find the answer here, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Have you been arrested or charged for Importation of Drugs?
If you’ve been arrested or charged for importing drugs, you’ll be feeling anxious about what the outcome might be. You may have been tricked into carrying drugs when you were asked to take a package for somebody. You may have got into something too deep, and the police have picked you up for being involved in drug supply.
Whether you’ve been the unsuspecting and innocent ‘drugs mule’ victim, the mastermind, a distributor or a supplier, it’s crucial that you take the advice of a criminal solicitor with experience in drug offences. You’ll need to consider protecting yourself with a strong defence, which only an experienced legal professional can competently craft.
The prohibition on the importation of drugs is governed by section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1970, and by section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs act 1971. The offence arises when you contravene the prohibition or restriction applicable to the importation of drugs.
Importation of drugs is an either-way offence. In the magistrates’ court, the maximum penalty is six months in prison. On trial on indictment in the crown court, the maximum sentence for importation of class A drugs is life imprisonment.
What type of actions are considered Importation of Drugs?
Here are some examples of importation of drug situations that may have led to the situation at hand.
Bringing steroids to the UK for personal use – classified as class C drugs, it is illegal to import or export steroids, even for personal use. You are likely to be given a financial penalty and a customs record.
Unknowingly bringing a large quantity of a class A drug inside a lorry that has been travelling in Europe – for instance, smuggling drugs into the UK inside a truck and smuggling large quantities of money out using a truck.
Purposefully hiding a class B drug inside a concealed container in a suitcase when travelling – depending on where you are going to, there could be serious repercussions. For example, if you arrive in Thailand with drugs, you may be given the death penalty. If you get caught taking drugs to the United States, you may never be able to enter the US again, and you will receive a criminal record in the UK.
Failure to declare prescription drugs that you have brought from abroad – it’s recommended that you ask your doctor or a pharmacist whether your medicine contains a controlled drug. It’s important to know what the laws are in both the country you’re leaving and visiting.
In some cases, an innocent error may have been made, for example, if you didn’t know that you had to declare a small number of prescription drugs. It is no longer considered to be a viable excuse if you bring a package for a third party from abroad without checking what is inside it. You will be held responsible if it contains drugs.
What happens in a Drug Importation investigation?
You’ll most likely discover that you’re being investigated for the importation of drugs when the police or a customs officer stop you. They will want you to explain your side of the story as to what you’re carrying and how this situation came about.
It’s recommended that you do not attend any police interview without speaking to a criminal solicitor beforehand. The role of the solicitor is to find out what evidence the police have on you and to listen to you so that they can work on building a strong defence for you.
With every case being unique, it’s recommended that you take a free consultation from a criminal solicitor. It’s essential to receive guidance on how to best handle the investigation process. If you’ve already been arrested or charged, then it’s vital that you engage a criminal solicitor to help you through the police interview.
You may have been falsely accused of importation of drugs
In some situations, you may feel that you’ve been wrongly accused of the importation of drugs offence. If you think this has happened in your situation, then we may be able to get your case dismissed for you. The outcome will depend on the details of your case.
Without a lawyer, you cannot find out more until the interview
As the role of the police is to enforce the law and to try to convict you if possible, it’s vital that you get somebody to back you whose role it is to give you a strong defence. This is the role of the criminal solicitor.
You’re quite unlikely to find out the details of why you’re being investigated unless you were ‘caught in the act’. In some cases, you won’t find out the details until you’re in the police interview, where you will be questioned and recorded.
What many of our clients find challenging is that the police will most likely seek a search warrant. This will allow them to search your property, and possibly your place of work. They will also examine your mobile phone, social media accounts, photographs and files looking for incriminating evidence.
If you haven’t been arrested, the police will try to invite you into the police station for what they will call ‘a chat’. This ‘chat’ will be a police interview. It would be best if you did not go to the police station under any circumstances without having a legal professional by your side whom you have already briefed on the situation.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
One of the benefits of engaging a criminal solicitor is that they are able to access further information about your importation of drugs case before the police interview. Possessing this information and speaking with you will provide the solicitor with enough information to be able to craft the best possible defence for you.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with Importation of Drugs?
If you find yourself being charged or arrested for Importation of drugs, it’s essential that you take legal representation immediately.
Our criminal solicitor team are competent, knowledgeable, experienced and know how to give you a defence that could give you the best outcome.
Our team keep current with UK law and any changes. Each member is not only competent but is passionate and determined to win their cases. By engaging any one of our solicitors, you will have somebody ensuring that you’ve got the best defence and advice possible.
Can the police search my home?
The police can search your home as they will be seeking evidence. The authorities will have granted access to your property, and the police will carry through the search.
The police may also search your work premises, your cars and other premises you regularly and routinely visit or are affiliated to.
Could you go to prison for Importation of Drugs?
If your case reaches court, and you are convicted, you are likely to get a prison sentence for the importation of drugs.
As we are regularly defending people who have been involved in drug offences, we have deep expertise in this field of law. We can help you by recommending a strategy to give you the best possible outcome. Whatever the size of your case, get in touch.
What type of sentence could you get for Importation of Drugs?
Depending on what you are charged with you, you may receive a prison sentence between 6 months and life imprisonment.
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
When sentencing for the importation of drugs, there are several factors that will be considered. One of these factors is the quantity and the class of the drugs are that you are alleged to have imported. There will also be a need to understand whether this is a crime that you undertook alone or as part of a group of people.
Your previous criminal record, your role, your financial benefit, your level of sophistication employed and personal familial and medial circumstances will also be of consideration.
Our drugs solicitors will collect all the necessary and important information to ensure that your sentence is mitigated in the best way possible.
Does a conviction for Importation of Drugs go on your criminal record?
If your importation of drugs case is heard in court and you are convicted of the crime, your conviction will be recorded on your CRB / police record.
The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of the sentence imposed on you.
In addition, you will most likely face confiscation proceedings and the prosecution will seek to strip you from your assets or demand a further and additional term of imprisonment for not paying the money.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Our criminal solicitors have defended those accused of importation of drugs offences for decades. We have defended those duped by foreign third parties and manipulated to deliver a ‘bag to a friend’ which inevitably conceals class A drugs, and on the other end of the spectrum, we have defended those organising and facilitating the importation of hundreds of kilos of class A drugs. Whether you are accused of being the mastermind, the distributor, the courier or the supplier of imported drugs, our criminal solicitors will do their absolute best to achieve your desired objectives in the case.
Given the seriousness of importation of drugs charges and the very long sentences they attract, our criminal solicitors like to contest the allegations from the front foot. We will not sit around idly for the prosecution to build the case against you and react when they want. We are proud of being proactive criminal solicitors always looking for that vital grain of evidence or legal anomaly to defeat the prosecution.
Defending importation of Drugs Allegations
The prosecution must prove that there was importation into the UK, that you evaded the prohibition or restriction on the drugs that you were concerned with the importation. As to the mental element, the prosecution must also prove that you knew that the goods were prohibited or restricted. This duty on the prosecution is a strict one. You may be convicted of attempted importation if the facts justify it but it is the role of our criminal solicitors to stand by your side at every step of the case, to guide you and to challenge the prosecution.
Whilst you are deemed ‘innocent until proven guilty, the best strategy is to adopt an aggressive stance and fight against all wrongful and inaccurate accusations at all time.
Our criminal solicitors have over 30 years’ experience with defending importation of drugs offences. Our experience means that we can advise on strategic matters from the outset. We have vast experience of representing clients when being interviewed by the police. If you own your home or have valuable assets, even before the charge, the prosecution may apply for a restraint order to freeze your assets.
Our fraud solicitors routinely advise on and challenge restraint orders. We have helped countless clients protect their assets from confiscation proceedings.
Cases of this nature demand talented lawyering and expert third party assistance. We engage some of the best expert criminal barristers in the UK to assist our clients in persuading the jury in our favour. We resort to all kinds of forensic analysts when we are scrutinising mobile phone evidence, computer evidence, financial records and other evidence which requires an expert from a different profession.
What will happen when I instruct a drug offence lawyer?
It is vital that you engage specialist criminal solicitors from the very beginning of the case. We appreciate this is a difficult time for you and you may be worried. We will offer you a free consultation with us to seek preliminary advice and for you to get to know us and see what we are about.
Please contact us and ask to speak to our criminal solicitors in person, online or by telephone.
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 you legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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