Criminal Investigations by the Insolvency Service
by Camilla Rents | Criminal Defence Generally
Drug offences involve serious allegations and can be a complex area of law. If you have found yourself under criminal investigation our expert drug crime solicitors can provide you with specialised legal advice and top tier legal representation when you need it most. At Old Bailey Solicitors our experienced criminal defence solicitors can help guide you through the process.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with an allegation relating to illegal drugs, contact us to discuss how we can help you.
If you are caught with drugs in the UK, you may be charged with one of the drug related offences found under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Misuse of Drugs Act controls the use and distribution of dangerous substances.
Drugs offences are taken very seriously by the police and the courts. Having a conviction even for simple possession can affect your future. In some cases you can also be looking at a substantial prison sentence. We provide specialised criminal defence services to ensure you get the best outcome possible.
Generally, the drug offences can be split into the following categories:
The offence of possession of a controlled drug is committed when a person is unlawfully in physical possession or in control of any substance or product specified in the Misuse of Drugs Act. The substances are listed under Schedule 2 of the Act. You must have knowledge that you are in possession of the drugs. However, you can be charged with possession even if the drugs are not subject to your control or are being held by someone else.
The act of passing controlled drugs from one person to another is a criminal offence. There does not have to be any financial gain to be prosecuted for supplying drugs.
It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in their possession, whether lawfully or not, with the intent to supply it to another who has no legal right to possess it. Quantity is not the only factor to differentiate between the offences of possession and possession with intent to supply, as other evidence is considered.
The criminalisation of drug importation is a result of the combined effect of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. The importation or exportation of any controlled drug is prohibited unless it is done in accordance with the terms of a license granted by the Secretary of State.
This offence is committed when you are found to have participated in the process of a controlled drug, by manufacture, cultivation, or any other method. There must be a link between yourself and the production process.
It is an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import, and export psychoactive substances, and to possess a psychoactive substance in a custodial institution.
Controlled drugs are classed according to their degree of harm from misuse. The class of a drug found in your possession upon arrest affects the severity of the offence.
Class A drugs include cocaine, crack, ecstasy, heroin, LSD, methadone, methamphetamine, magic mushrooms constraining ester or psilocin and any class B drug that is injected
Class B drugs include cannabis (in resin, oil or herbal form), amphetamines (not methamphetamine), barbiturates, mephedrone and codeine.
Class C drugs include anabolic steroids, minor tranquilizers, GHB and khat.
Synthetic opioids are a man-made drug that mimic the effects of natural opioids (e.g., heroin, fentanyl). It is illegal to produce, supply or possess synthetic opioids without a prescription. Most synthetic opioids are treated as class A drugs.
Includes new drugs that have yet to be classified by the courts.
Substances that mimic the effects of traditional controlled drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy) are known as psychoactive substances. These new substances, together with other substances that have been used as intoxicants are often referred to as ‘legal highs.’
To be be found guilty of a drug offence, the prosecution must prove the following:
The prosecution must be able to prove that you were in possession of the drug. This will often mean that the drug is found in your physical possession, but the offence is not limited to that. You may also be guilty of the offence where it can be proved that the drug was under your control.In order to be in possession of the drug, you must be aware that you have the drug. You are not guilty if the drug is planted on you by someone else. However, simply forgetting that the drug was in your pocket will not be a defence.
In order to be convicted of this offence, the prosecution must prove the following three things: a. The supply, or offer of supply, of drugs to another person. It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove an actual supply, or offer of supply, has completed. The word supply is a broad term and refers to the entire process of supply; and, b. Your participation in an enterprise involving the supply, or an offer of supply, of a drug; and, c. That you had knowledge of the nature of the enterprise. That is, that you were aware that the enterprise involved supply, of the offer of supply, of the drug.You do not have to have been in possession of the drugs or supplied them yourself. An agreement with another person, or an understanding that this would be done fulfils the offence. A person may be ‘concerned’ by being involved at a distance in supplying, or making an offer to supply, the drug.
Supply can include simply providing the drug to someone else and does not need to involve payment or a commercial transaction. Evidence of a large quantity of a drug or drugs together with quantities of cash will often be used by the prosecution to suggest an intention to supply / supplying.
The prosecution must be able to prove that you were in possession of the drug. This will often mean that the drug is found in your physical possession but the offence is not limited to that. You may also be guilty of the offence where it can be proved that the drug was in your control. In order to be in possession of the drug, you must be aware that you have the drug. You are not guilty if the drug is planted on you by someone else. However, simply forgetting that the drug was in your pocket will not be a defence. It must also be proved that you had an intention to supply the drug to another. Supply can include simply providing the drug to someone else and does not need to involve payment or a commercial transaction. Evidence of a large quantity of drug or drugs together with quantities of cash will often be used by the prosecution to suggest an intention to supply.
In order to be convicted of this offence the prosecution need to be able to prove that you have been knowingly concerned in the unlawful importation of a controlled drug.“Knowingly” means that you either knew or you believed that a controlled drug was being imported into the country. “Concerned” means that you were involved in some way. That means that you may be guilty of the offence even if you did not have the drugs physically in your possession.
To be able to convict you of production of a controlled drug, the prosecutors must prove that a controlled drug was produced, they must show a link between you and the production process (such as equipment suitable for producing the drug), as well as evidence that you knew the controlled drug was being produced. The prosecutor must prove that you actually participated in the production. However, you could also be charged with ‘being concerned in the production of a controlled drug’ where there is evidence you had knowledge of commercial production and indirect participation in that production.