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Drug laws in the UK have become stricter over the years, constantly evolving to take into account new strains of recreational drugs and the relatively recent introduction of so-called ‘legal highs’ (which can be swiftly criminalised if deemed to pose a genuine risk). Drug offences can be extremely serious and if you are facing such charges then the specialist drug offence solicitors at Minton Morrill can help.
In the UK, illegal drugs, or controlled substances, are broadly divided into three categories:
- Class A, the most serious category, which includes ecstasy, cocaine and heroin;
- Class B, which includes cannabis and amphetamines, such as speed;
- Class C, which includes anabolic steroids and some tranquillisers.
Drug offences are often associated with drug addicts or criminal gangs, but many people who may not necessarily fit the criteria of ‘criminal’ have found themselves on the wrong side of the law in relation to drugs. For example, a student who buys recreational drugs such as ecstasy for himself but then sells a couple to his friends could be prosecuted for supplying drugs, even though they would not ordinarily fit most people’s idea of a drug dealer. Likewise, the news often carries reports of seemingly respectable people who have become involved in international drug trafficking, either willingly or through duress.
It is illegal to be in possession of a controlled substance, although simple possession of a small amount for personal use is unlikely to result in a prison sentence. Simply having traces of a substance
If you are in possession of a larger quantity of drugs, from a few small bags of cannabis through to several cases of cocaine then you can be prosecuted for possession with intent to supply, which refers to drug dealing.
For Class A drugs, the maximum sentence for possession with intent to supply is life imprisonment, although it is rare for sentences to exceed 10 years. For Class B and C drug dealing offences, there is a maximum sentence of 14 years, although in practice these are usually much shorter.
The most serious offences are those relating to the importation, exportation and production of drugs, as these are considered to be what fuels the illegal drugs trade. Those who produce drugs or take them in or out of the country can often make millions of pounds – which, in turn, means such offences are viewed more seriously by the law. In such cases, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 may be used to recover or confiscate ill gotten gains. Large scale drug operations may also involve other serious offences, such as human trafficking and employing illegal immigrants.
If you are facing drug-related charges of any kind then you should seek legal advice immediately. At Minton Morrill, we have years of experience of representing clients in such cases, leading them being acquitted of serious charges. If you wish to plead not guilty then we can provide the best possible defence, including disputing evidence or arguing a defence of personal use in possession with intent to supply cases. If you wish to plead guilty then we can mitigate for the lowest possible sentence in the circumstances.
To find out how our specialist drug offence solicitors in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the wider North of England can help, please contact us.
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