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Supplying drugs or possessing drugs with intent to supply – the law

supplying drugsAllegations of supplying drugs or possessing them with intent to supply are more serious than simply possessing the drugs.  Such allegations are likely to lead to lengthy custodial sentences.

What drugs are illegal to supply?

It is an offence to supply a controlled drug. This includes the ones that will immediately spring to mind such as heroin, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine. It also includes what are called Class B and C drugs such as steroids, khat and ketamine. Some of these may be lawful to possess but not supply.

What is meant by supply?

 supplying drugsThe word “supply” is to be given its everyday meaning. Buying drugs on behalf of a group of people and handing them out, even for no profit, is still supply.

Handing drugs to someone else for safe-keeping may not be supply (although even that is not clear cut), but if that person holds the drugs intending to return them to the first person, he may be guilty of possession with intent to supply.

The law relating to possession of drugs is some of the most complicated criminal law on the statute book.

How does the prosecution prove an intent to supply?

The easiest way to prove this is by an admission of intent. Other ways include an assessment of the circumstances in which the drugs are held and the circumstances and behaviour of the alleged offender.

The quantity of drugs, possession of cash, drugs paraphernalia, “tick lists” or debtors’ lists, and phone records and messaging recovered from mobile phones will all be considered.

If there is insufficient evidence of an intent to supply the prosecution may accept a plea to simple possession.

What about proving possession?

To have an intent to supply you also have to be in possession of the drug. A person has in his possession anything which is in his physical custody or under his control.  You need to have knowledge of the drugs, but you do not necessarily have to have them in your pocket or vehicle.

What sentences are given out for supplying drugs?

supplying drugsThe maximum sentence for Class A drugs is life, for Class B and C it is 14 years imprisonment.

If an adult defendant has two or more convictions for a Class A drug trafficking offence, a seven-year minimum sentence applies, unless it is unjust to impose such sentence.

The offence is aggravated for adults if the offence is committed on or in the vicinity of school premises at a relevant time.  A relevant time is when the premises are in use by persons aged under 18 or within one hour of the start or end of such time.

The offence is also aggravated if a courier under the age of 18 is used in the commission of the offence.

The sentencing court will use the specific sentencing guidelines for drug offences. Those involved in the supply of Class A drugs are more likely to receive custodial sentences. The Court will consider factors such as quantities, the role played, whether it is street dealing or a commercial enterprise, financial gain and, as always, credit is given for a guilty plea.

Drugs offences attract some of the lengthiest prison sentences handed out in our courts.

The full sentencing guidelines for drug supply and other offences can be found here.

Instruct criminal solicitors experienced in defending allegations of supplying drugs.

As you can see such offending is treated seriously by the courts so it will be important that you seek early advice from a criminal law solicitor.

We assess the evidence on your behalf, advise you as to plea and can give you an indication of likely sentence if convicted. There are a number of possible defences available that we will consider.

As a result, if you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about an offence of supplying drugs then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.

The advantages of such early advice legal advice can be found here.

If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case.  Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.

You can read more about drug supply cases that we have dealt with:

This case involved a sentencing for supplying drugs into prison.

In this case a guilty plea resulted in a suspended sentence.

Here we successfully argued for a discharge for allowing premises to be used for cultivation of cannabis.

In this case one of our Higher Courts Advocates successfully challenged prosecution expert evidence at trial.

We have offices across the East Midlands.  You can find your most convenient office here.   Alternatively you can contact us using the form below.

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VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands


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