Conspiracy to Supply Drugs and Possession with Intent to Supply
If you have been accused of an offence relating to illegal controlled substances and are facing a criminal investigation, contact our specialist defence solicitors today. We will be able to offer you expert legal advice through every step of the investigation to ensure you are able to make the best possible decision.
Allegations of possessing, supplying, intending to supply illegal drugs, or being part of a wider conspiracy to supply drugs are all viewed as serious criminal offences in the eyes of the law, and the punishments, although varied, can be substantial. Therefore, it is important that you get the right legal representation from the outset to guide you through this difficult and complex process.
At JMW, we offer a private client criminal law service and we are ranked as a top-tier crime firm by the Legal 500, as well as Chambers and Partners. We are dedicated to achieving the best outcome possible for our clients, and strive to do so with every single case. By instructing our specialist team, you can be assured that you will be represented by highly qualified and experienced solicitors. We have extensive knowledge of this area of the law and a track record of success in defending individuals accused of serious drug-related offences.
If you have been accused of committing such an offence, speak to our criminal defence solicitors today by calling us on 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
How JMW Can Help
The consequences of being found guilty of a drug offence are serious and any conviction relating to such offences can have an impact on your personal life, which could include travelling to certain countries abroad being restricted, job prospects being affected and, in most cases, a lengthy custodial sentence. It is vital that you seek expert legal advice immediately, and we are here to support you throughout the entire process.
Our expert services have been developed for clients who require exclusive, partner-level representation. This allows us to provide a dedicated, driven-yet-friendly approach from start to finish when defending a serious drugs offence.
We have particular expertise in pharmaceutical cases, where individuals or corporate clients face allegations of large-scale importation of legal drugs in contravention of statutory prohibitions. Our extensive knowledge of the market and international regulations in this type of case benefits our preparation in drug cases generally, so you can rest assured you will be in the best hands.
Our criminal defence team covers all aspects of drug-related accusations and crimes, meaning we are able to apply our expertise to a number of different cases.
We understand the impact that being caught in possession or supplying drugs can have on your life and your loved ones. Therefore, we are dedicated to supporting those accused of serious drug offences, whatever the case may involve.
We can offer our legal services to support you with the following:
- The initial arrest stage and initial police interview
- The investigation process including when you are released on bail
- Maintaining communication with the police on your behalf
- Advice and support if a charge is made against you
- Thorough and robust defence representation during the criminal proceedings
Throughout all of these stages, we will defend you robustly, give you all the information you need throughout the process and work tirelessly to protect your interests. We will also inform you of the likely sentencing you may face, depending on the severity of the allegations, all while fighting to reduce or remove your penalty.
FAQs About Conspiracy to Supply Drugs and Possession With Intent to Supply
- What different types of serious drug offences are there?
Under UK law, illegal drugs are classified in accordance with how dangerous they are. If the drugs are categorised as controlled drugs, they are subject to legal restrictions to prevent drug misuse. Controlled drugs are categorised as Class A, B or C.
Examples of Class A drugs include:
● Heroin (Diamorphine)
● MDMA (Ecstasy)
● Magic Mushrooms (containing Psilocin)
Examples of Class B drugs include:
● Amphetamines (except methamphetamine
● Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
● Synthetic cannabinoids (sometimes known as 'Spice')
Finally, a Class C drug might be any of the following:
● Anabolic steroids
● Benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium, Xanax)
● Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
● Benzyl piperazines
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 sets out activities that are unlawful in respect of illegal drugs. Some of the most common charges are:
● Possessing or possession with intent to supply
○ If you have on your person or in your custody drugs, which are illegal, you can be investigated in respect of this, even if they do not belong to you. This is also the case if you have drugs in your possession with the intention to sell them but you never got around to selling them or you have them in your possession to give them to someone without gaining monetary value.
● Supplying or producing illegal drugs that include controlled drugs
○ If you are caught supplying drugs of any of the three classes - whether on a small scale or part of a larger conspiracy, you can be looking at serious penalties should you be found guilty. This is also the case if you are found to be ‘manufacturing, cultivating or producing by any other method’.
● Importation or trafficking of illegal drugs
○ If you are caught bringing in or sending out of the UK, drugs that are controlled and illegal, you can be looking at serious penalties should you be found guilty.
● Importation of prohibited drugs in contravention of prohibition or licence
If you are investigated and found guilty of this offence, you could not only face serious penalties under criminal law, but you may also face regulatory action by the agency that has issued you a license and/or confiscation proceedings
- What sentence is likely for a serious drug offence?
The penalties that can be imposed depend on factors such as the classification, quantity and purity of the drug, your role, the offence itself and whether or not you have had previous convictions. We will be able to answer any questions you may have relating to this.
Accusations of serious drug offences can often be complex. Arrests made will sometimes arise out of large-scale operations and cases can be linked to other crimes, such as money laundering or conspiracies to defraud. Whatever the drug offence may be, we are confident we will be able to offer our expert services.
- What is the most common drug offence?
The most common drug offence is possession of an illegal drug which means you are found to have illegal drugs either on your person, or in a property such as your home or workplace.
- Do first-time drug offenders go to prison?
If you are a first time offender, it may be that you receive a fine at court for drug possession; however, this depends on the specific details and severity of your individual case. It is possible you may serve a short prison sentence of a few weeks or months for simple possession; however, we will try to minimise this as much as possible by working on putting forward strong mitigation at the outset.
- How will the prosecution prove that a drug is controlled?
In possession with intent to supply cases, the prosecution must prove that a substance involved in an alleged drug offence was in fact a controlled drug (as per the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or other relevant legislation) at the time the offence is thought to have been committed.
There are a number of ways the prosecution might approach this. The most common is forensic analysis, which remains one of the most robust methods for establishing the nature of a substance. The seized material is typically sent to a forensic laboratory for detailed testing. During legal proceedings, this might be supported by expert testimony. A forensic scientist with relevant experience can testify in court to confirm the chemical composition of the substance and establish that it is a controlled drug.
The prosecution must also establish a clear chain of custody for the substance from the point of seizure to the laboratory analysis to ensure that the substance tested is the same as the one seized. Any mistakes in the collection or processing of evidence can offer a significant opportunity for the defence to cast doubt, while procedural errors can result in certain evidence being forbidden from being used in court.
Previous legal decisions can sometimes be cited to support the argument that a substance is controlled, especially if the substance in question has been the subject of prior legal scrutiny. Often, additional evidence such as text messages, emails, or other documentation can be used to establish the nature of the substance involved in the case. In rare cases, the accused may admit that they are carrying a controlled drug or inadvertently make an acknowledgement that a substance is subject to restrictions.
In cases involving multiple accused individuals, the prosecution may need to prove who had actual control or possession of the substance. The law allows for charges of constructive or joint possession in such scenarios.
- What is Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971?
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is the primary legislation governing the control of drug substances in the United Kingdom. It classifies drugs into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C, based on their potential for harm and abuse. The act aims to prevent the non-medical use of certain substances and provides the framework for the prosecution of offences related to the possession, distribution, production, and trafficking of controlled drugs.
Within this legislation, Schedule 2 lists the substances classified as controlled drugs, and identifies which class each belongs to.
Being caught in possession, distributing, or manufacturing these substances carries the most severe penalties under the act. Penalties can range from fines to imprisonment, and charges of possession with intent to supply are often associated with the most serious punishments.
It is difficult to provide comprehensive lists of the substances that are controlled under each class, particularly as any product named in a temporary class drug order will also be considered a "controlled substance" while the order remains in effect.
- What are temporary class drug orders?
Temporary class drug orders are a feature of drug control legislation that was introduced by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 as an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These orders provide a mechanism for the government to rapidly bring newly identified harmful substances under control.
This approach allows for a quick response to emerging trends in drug misuse, especially as they relate to novel substances that are not yet classified as "controlled" under Schedule 2 of the act. It becomes illegal to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import, or export any substance that is controlled by a temporary class order. Offences of this nature are punishable with up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. However, unlike with other controlled drugs, possession of these substances by itself is not an offence.
A temporary class drug order will last for up to 12 months, although this can be extended. This time allows for a full assessment of the drug's potential to cause harm, and for the government to decide what steps it needs to take to control the substance and prevent abuse.
- What is the sentence for possession with intent to supply?
The penalties you can incur for serious drug offences, including possession with intent to supply, can be very serious. They are different for each class of drugs and other mitigating factors might affect your sentence. As with most criminal offences, there is a range of potential penalties for each separate offence.
For Class A drug offences, penalties range from a community order to life imprisonment. Possession with intent to supply Class B drugs can result in penalties ranging from a fine to a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment. For Class C drugs, the maximum punishment is also 14 years in prison, and the minimum penalty is a fine.
There is no minimum sentence for intent to supply Class A drugs in the UK, as every case is different. If you are found guilty of more than one offence, you might receive multiple sentences that can extend the duration of your imprisonment or a combination of punishments.
- What counts as possession with intent to supply?
In the UK, a charge of "possession with intent to supply" involves not just possession of a controlled drug, but also the intention to distribute it to others. This is a more serious offence than simple possession and carries heavier penalties, including the possibility of imprisonment. However, it may be difficult to prove that someone is intent on supplying drugs to others, rather than simply possessing drugs for their own use.
There are several factors that are commonly considered when someone is thought to be dealing drugs, which can help authorities to determine whether there was intent to supply. For example, one of the biggest factors is the quantity of drugs found in someone's possession. Holding a large amount of a controlled substance (exceeding what would be considered reasonable for personal use of the specific drugs involved) is often considered an indication of intent to supply.
If drugs are found separated into smaller, individually wrapped portions, this may indicate that they are intended for distribution. Pieces of drug-related equipment and items commonly associated with distribution, such as digital scales for weighing substances, small plastic bags, or even larger containers for bulk storage, can be evidence of intent to supply. Many of these behaviours are not illegal on their own but will serve to paint a larger picture of criminal activity taking place.
Text messages, emails, or other forms of communication that discuss the sale or distribution of drugs can be strong evidence for proving intent to supply. In some cases, financial evidence can indicate an ongoing drug-dealing operation, and previous convictions may also be used against defendants. Large sums of cash, especially in smaller denominations, may be the proceeds of drug-related activity and financial records that suggest earnings from drug distribution can be used as evidence. Even circumstantial evidence, such as being caught in a location known for drug dealing, or under circumstances suggesting a drug sale was about to take place, can be used to pursue a criminal charge.
It is worth noting that the charge can apply not just to those directly engaged in drug distribution but also to individuals who are part of a wider network or organisation that intends to supply controlled substances.
Since the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, they must prove intent to supply beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. Defendants may be able to challenge evidence and offer alternative explanations. In fact, there is a wide range of defence strategies that might be available in these cases. Anyone suspected of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply should seek urgent specialist advice from expert criminal defence solicitors like those at JMW.
Given the severity of penalties involved in drug supply offences, including the risk of imprisonment and substantial fines, it is strongly advisable for individuals facing such charges to seek professional legal advice. Talk to JMW Solicitors today for advice and representation when facing a charge for possessing drugs with intent to supply.