Drug Offences

Clarkson Hirst Solicitors

The law on drug cases can be complicated. The seriousness of the offence depends upon the type of substance and the purpose of the Defendant’s involvement with the substance. The offences range from possession of a controlled drug to possession with intent to and extends to conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.

The sentencing ranges for the latter cases usually involves lengthy prison sentences being imposed if found guilty.

In respect of sentence for possession of a controlled drug, this will depend on the amount, the class of the controlled drug and any similar previous convictions.

For a first time offender, for a possession of a controlled drug this is likely to be dealt with by way of a fine or a community penalty.

In respect of supply and conspiracy to supply, this depends on the class of the controlled drug. The sentencing guidelines are set out into 4 categories dependant on the amount of the controlled drug. The Court will then decide whether the Defendant is involved in a leading role, significant role or lesser role.

For example up to 5 grams of Heroin and Cocaine would fall into category 4, the lowest category. If the Defendant was acting in a lesser role, the starting point would be 18 months custody. In our experience the issues which generally arise in these cases, which can affect the sentence include;

  • Your age when you commit the offence
  • If you co-operate with the police
  • An early guilty plea
  • Whether you have been dealing to fund your own drug habit
  • Whether you have been dealing as a result of pressure from others

Potential defences

If you are charged with the offence of possession with the intent to supply then we as your defence team will assess whether it is possible to run a defence on the basis that the drugs were for your personal use. The evidential considerations may include;

  • Whether you were in possession of any paraphernalia connected to the sale of drugs
  • The quantity of drugs found in your possession
  • Whether there was any evidence that you were selling drugs
  • Whether you had any large quantities of cash which could not be explained
  • Telephone analysis is crucial in these cases.

Case examples we have dealt with

Conspiracy to supply class A drugs

R V W 2013 – Preston crown court

Barrow has a long standing problem of Manchester and Liverpool drug dealers coming to the area to supply drugs in particular heroin and cocaine.

The Defendant was arrested with his friend along with two Liverpool males after a drug warrant was executed at a property. Various Class A drugs, cash and other drug paraphernalia was found in the property.

The case proceeded through the Crown Court and our Barrister made an application to dismiss the case. This was a full day hearing and it was successful. Our client’s case was dismissed from the conspiracy.

Possession with intent to supply class A drugs

R V W 2015 – Preston crown court

The Defendant was in a motor vehicle driven by his friend. They went to the local store where the Defendant’s friend was arrested for shoplifting. The Defendant got in his friend’s vehicle and attempted to drive it back to his friend’s house. However, as the Defendant went to drive off in the vehicle, the police stopped him and searched the vehicle and found a quantity of drugs in the glove compartment.

However, he maintained that he had no knowledge that the package was drugs and in any event it did not belong to him.

The Defendant was charged with possession with intent to supply class A drugs. Pressure was put on the prosecution to provide evidence that our client was involved. On the day of trial the CPS offered no evidence against our client and the case was dismissed.