If you are facing charges relating to drug offences you must obtain the best legal advice and representation. Adam Law Solicitors are one of the leading criminal defence law firms in the UK. We have years of experience in successfully defending people charged with drug offences and are regularly recommended by former clients. Serious drug charges such as conspiracy to supply a Class A drug or drug trafficking carry lengthy custodial sentences. It is vital, therefore, to instruct an experienced Drug Offence Solicitor to defend you.
If you are concerned you may be facing charges for drug-related offences, or are already facing charges, you must contact us as quickly as possible. Phone us now on 0114 256 0111, or email us or use the form on this page.
Due to our formidable reputation in successfully defending controlled drug-related charges, Adam Law Solicitors has built strong relationships with leading Barristers, Queen’s Counsel, Drugs and cell site experts, and Mental Health Professionals, who can assist our team with creating a best in class criminal defence and persuading a jury that you are innocent.
Adam Law Solicitors invests heavily in accreditations, including Lexcel and the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation. These provide our clients with confidence that we meet the exceptionally high standards for practice management and criminal litigation skills set by the Law Society of England and Wales.
We provide police station representation. Call us now on the number below.
What are the offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971?
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 classifies drugs into three categories. Class A contains the most addictive and/or dangerous drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine, and LSD. Class B drugs include amphetamines and cannabis. Drugs that fall into Class C include GHB and Khat.
Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 include:
- Possession of a controlled drug.
- Possession with intent to supply.
- Production cultivation or manufacture.
- Supplying another person.
- Offering to supply another person.
- Allowing a property to be used to consume (cannabis or opium only), supply or manufacture controlled drugs.
Being charged with a drug-related offence can be extremely stressful, especially if you have never been in trouble with the law before. You can rely on our Drug Offences Solicitors to manage your case from the time you are taken to the police station through to sentencing. We will provide the expert advice you need to decide how to plead and will meticulously examine the actions of the police and Prosecution and challenge any mistakes and/or inconsistencies in their statements.
What is the offence of drug possession?
For a person to be convicted of being in possession of a controlled drug the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- The Defendant has the drug physically on them, and
- They knew that they were in possession of the drug.
Possession of a controlled drug is one of the more minor drug-related offences. More serious is the charge of possession with intent to supply.
Supply/possession with intent to supply/offering to supply
Supplying includes distributing (section 37(1) of the Act) and does not require proof of payment or reward.
Supply requires more than mere transfer of physical control. The drug is supplied if the recipient is enabled to apply the thing handed over to purposes for which he desires or has a duty to apply it. A return of drugs to the original supplier would be a supply.
In R v Panton, TLR 27 March 2001, the Court of Appeal held that the phrase “supply” includes the retention and return of controlled drugs deposited with a custodian “by another person, even if the custodian did not lack of consent to the arrangement.”
Where two people agree to buy drugs for themselves, it is undesirable to charge one who happens to take physical possession of the drugs with the supply of drugs when he distributes the other’s share to him. Although there is technically a supply, it was inevitable that a person convicted on the basis of such a distribution would be dealt with as for simple possession.
Evidence of intent to supply
An intention to supply may be proved by direct evidence in the form of admissions or witness testimony, for example, surveillance evidence.
Another method of proving an intention to supply is by inference. Evidence from which intent to supply may be inferred will include at least one or, more usually, a combination of the following factors:
- Possession of a quantity inconsistent with personal use.
- Possession of uncut drugs or drugs in an unusually pure state suggesting proximity to their manufacturer or importer.
- Possession of a variety of drugs may indicate sale rather than consumption.
- Evidence that the drug has been prepared for sale. If a drug has been cut into small portions and those portions are wrapped in foil or film, then there is a clear inference that sale is the object.
- Drug related equipment in the care and/or control of the suspect, such as weighing scales, cutting agents, bags or wraps of foil (provided their presence is not consistent with normal domestic use).
- Diaries or other documents containing information tending to confirm drug dealing, which are supportive of a future intent to supply, for example, records of customers’ telephone numbers together with quantities or descriptions of drugs.
- Money found on the defendant is not necessarily evidence of future supply. It may be evidence of supply in the past but on its own the money is not evidence of a future intent to supply.
- Evidence of large amounts of money in the possession of the defendant, or an extravagant life style which is only prima facie explicable if derived from drug dealing, is admissible in cases of possession with intent to supply if it is of probative significance to an issue.
- Extravagant lifestyle, but only when that is of probative significance to an issue in the case. Evidence of this type is only likely to be admitted by the courts rarely.
An offence of offering to supply can be prosecuted simply by proving the existence of an offer. The prosecution does not have to prove either that the defendant intended to produce the drugs or that the drugs were in his possession. The offer may be by words or conduct.
The offences of being concerned will cover conduct which is preparatory to the actual supply, although the prosecution must prove that a supply, or an offer to supply, has been made.
Section 170(1) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA) states:
“If any person …
- Knowingly acquires possession of:
- iii) goods with respect to the importation or exportation of which any prohibition or restriction is for the time being in force under or by virtue of any enactment; or is in any way knowingly concerned in carrying, removing, depositing, harbouring, keeping or concealing or in any manner dealing with any such goods,
and does so with intent to (removed as irrelevant) evade any such prohibition or restriction with respect to the goods he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and may be detained.”
- Knowingly acquires possession of:
Section 170(2) of CEMA 1979 provides the “smuggling” offence:
“If any person is, in relation to any goods, in any way knowingly concerned in any fraudulent evasion or attempt at evasion of any prohibition or restriction for the time being in force with respect to the goods, he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and may be detained.”
A statutory defence for possession with intent to supply is contained in section 28 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971:
Defences in section 28 of the act
In relation to offences of possession (with or without intent to supply), production, supply, cultivation of drugs or the opium-related offences, it is a defence for the accused to show that:
- He neither knew, suspected, nor had reason to suspect the existence of some fact that the prosecution is required to prove, for example that he was in possession of the drug.
- He neither believed, suspected, nor had reason to suspect that the substance in question was a controlled drug.
The defendant only bears an evidential burden in relation to calling evidence that he lacked the requisite knowledge, belief or suspicion – it is for the prosecution to prove by reference to the available evidence that he lacked knowledge, belief or suspicion.
It is the second of the three defences cited above that will be most frequently encountered. In deciding whether the defence is made out, prosecutors may have regards to:
- The credibility of any account given in interview – note the evidential burden on the defendant.
- The circumstances in which the drug was acquired or possessed, including concealment.
- Nature of any packaging.
- Any observations on the defendant prior to him being stopped or arrested.
- If a possession offence is alleged, proximity to the supplier.
- Content of any exhibit – telephone messages, documents, labelling.
- Relevant bad character – including previous non court disposals and informal warnings, if recorded and in an admissible format.
At Adam Law Solicitors we will work determinedly to build a robust defence that proves that although you had a controlled drug in your possession you had no plans to supply it to others.
Why choose us?
Serious criminal charges involving controlled drugs demand the expertise of a law firm that has the knowledge and connections required to build a persuasive criminal defence. We work incredibly closely with your Barrister and will keep you constantly updated as to how your case is developing. Not only do we have a robust track record of successfully defending criminal cases, but we are also skilled at applying for and achieving bail.
Do not delay in calling us on 0114 2560111.
If you believe you may be charged with drug-related offences, or are already facing charges, you must contact us as quickly as possible.