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What happens for a first offence of Possession with Intent to Supply?

Possession with Intent to supply - Drugs solicitors

Facing a criminal charge can be an overwhelming and distressing experience, especially when the charge is as serious as possession with intent to supply. If you or someone you know has found themselves in this predicament for the first time, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the legal implications involved. In this article, we delve into the offence of possession with intent to supply under English law, providing insights into its definition, including illustrative examples, outlining the potential sentencing outcomes, and discussing the potential of imprisonment for first time offenders.

What is the offence of possession with intent to supply?

Possession with intent to supply is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It is considered to be a very serious offence, and can result in a significant prison sentence. One reason for this is because the impact that drugs have on the general population as well as on the individuals involved in their use can be devastating.

To commit the offence of possession with intent to supply, a person must:

  • have a controlled drug in their possession, whether lawfully or not
  • intend to supply it to another person

“Supply” is defined as the act of giving, selling, or otherwise providing a controlled drug to another person. It does not matter if the supply is for profit or not. This means that simply sharing drugs at a party or other event is sufficient to constitute the offence of ‘supplying’.

The prosecution does not need to prove that the person actually supplied the drug to another person, only that they intended to do so. This can be proved using circumstantial evidence, such as the amount of drugs found in the person’s possession, the way the drugs were packaged, and any other evidence that suggests that the drugs were intended for supply.

Relevant evidence may include:

  • Possession of a large quantity of drugs
  • Possession of drugs in individual deals
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as scales, bags, and deal wraps
  • Text messages or other communications that suggest that the person was planning to supply drugs
  • Witness statements from people who have seen the person supplying drugs

What are some examples of possession with intent to supply?

Here are some examples of this offence:

  • A person is found in possession of 100 grams of cocaine, which is significantly more than would be required for personal use. The cocaine is also packaged in individual packets, suggesting that it is intended for sale.
  • A person is found in possession of a large quantity of cannabis, as well as scales, bags, and deal wraps. This suggests that the person is preparing the cannabis for sale.
  • A person is found in possession of a variety of different drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin. This suggests that the person is a drug dealer who is selling a range of drugs to different customers.
  • A person is found in possession of a small quantity of drugs, but they also have a large amount of cash and a list of names and phone numbers. This suggests that the person is using the money to buy drugs for resale, and that the list of names and phone numbers is a list of customers.
  • A person is found in possession of a mobile phone with text messages that suggest that they are planning to supply drugs to another person. For example, the messages might say something like “I’ve got 10 pills for you, meet me at the park at 6pm.”

What happens if you are suspected of possession with intent to supply in the UK?

If you are suspected of possession with intent to supply in the UK, it is highly likely that the police and other law enforcement specialist teams or agencies (such as drugs teams) will get involved. Here is an outline of what is likely to happen:

  • Investigation: If law enforcement suspects or has evidence that you have downloaded indecent images, they will begin an investigation. This may involve collecting evidence such as electronic records, witness statements, and any other relevant information.
  • Arrest: If the police have enough evidence or reasonable grounds to suspect that you are involved in the crime, they may arrest you and take you into custody for questioning.
  • Questioning: While you are in custody, the police may question you about the alleged offence. You have the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present during questioning.
  • Search and Seizure: Law enforcement may search your home, workplace, electronic devices, and any other relevant personal or professional belongings for evidence related to the alleged offence. They may also seize digital devices for further examination.
  • Bail, Investigation, or Detention: Depending on the circumstances, you may be released on bail, released but kept under investigation, or detained while further investigations are carried out. If you are released on bail, you may be required to follow certain conditions, such as staying away from potential witnesses or victims.
  • Charging Decision: After the investigation is complete, the police will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide whether to press charges. The CPS will assess the evidence and decide if there is a strong enough case to prosecute (the CPS must be assured there is enough evidence to secure a conviction).
  • Court Proceedings: If charges are filed, you will be summoned to court to answer the allegations. You will have the opportunity to defend yourself, but it is highly recommended that you seek legal representation.
  • Possible Outcomes: If you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply, you may face a variety of penalties, including imprisonment, fines, community service orders, or restraining orders, depending on the severity of the offence and other factors.
  • Criminal Record: A conviction for possession with intent to supply will result in a criminal record, which can have far-reaching consequences. For example, it may make it difficult to get a job, travel, or maintain certain relationships.

What is the sentence for possession with intent to supply in the UK?

The sentence for possession with intent to supply in the UK depends on the class of drug involved and the quantity of the drug. The maximum sentence is 7 years in prison for a Class A drug, 5 years in prison for a Class B drug, and 2 years in prison for a Class C drug.

The actual sentence that is imposed will depend on a number of factors, including the offender’s previous criminal record, the role they played in the supply of drugs, and the impact of the drugs on their community.

For example, a first-time offender who is caught in possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal supply may be given a community order or a suspended sentence. However, a repeat offender who is caught in possession of a large quantity of drugs for commercial supply is likely to be sentenced to prison.

In addition to a prison sentence, offenders may also be fined and/or ordered to forfeit any assets that they have gained from their drug dealing activities.

If you are facing charges of possession with intent to supply, it is important to seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer can help you to understand your charges and your rights, and can represent you in court.

Will I go to prison if it is my first time possession with intent to supply?

The likelihood of a first-time offender going to prison for being found guilty of possession with intent to supply in the UK depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The type and quantity of drugs involved
  • The role the offender played in the supply of drugs
  • The impact of the drugs on their community
  • The offender’s previous criminal record
  • Any mitigating or aggravating factors

In general, first-time offenders are less likely to be sentenced to prison than repeat offenders. However, possession with intent to supply is a serious offence, and even first-time offenders can be sentenced to prison, especially if the circumstances of the offence are serious.

According to a 2021 report by the Ministry of Justice, only 0.2% of first-time offenders convicted of possession with intent to supply were sentenced to immediate imprisonment. However, this figure is likely to be higher for more serious cases, such as cases involving large quantities of drugs or Class A drugs.

Where to get further help

If you or someone you know is facing charges for making indecent images, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many people with no prior legal experience find themselves in this situation, and there is help available. Get in touch with the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors to learn more about your options and start compiling your defence today.

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