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Drugs Offences


At Murrays Solicitors we deal with drugs offences on a regular basis and are highly experienced in defending this type of case.

This page sets out the basics of drugs offences; however, please contact us if you require legal advice or representation.

  • What are the classifications of drugs in the UK?
  • What is the Law relating to drugs offences?

Being arrested and tested for Drugs

  • What are the penalties for Possession or Supply of drugs?
  • Cultivation of Cannabis
  • Producing Drugs
  • Allowing Premises to be Used for the Use, Supply or Production of Drugs
  • Importing Drugs

What are the classifications of drugs in the UK?

Drugs into three separate categories, as follows:

Class A drugscontact us

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Crack Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD
  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Amphetamines (if prepared for Injection)

Class B drugs

  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis

Class C drugs

  • Tranquilisers
  • Ketamine
  • Diazepam (unless prescribed by a Doctor)

What is the Law relating to drugs offences?

Offences relating to drugs are as follows:

  1. Possession of a controlled substance unlawfully.
  2. Possession of a controlled substance with intent to supply it.
  3. Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug (even where no charge is made for the drug)
  4. Allowing premises you occupy or manage to be used unlawfully for the purpose of producing or supplying controlled drugs

Being arrested and tested for Drugs

You may be tested for drugs if you've been arrested for a trigger offence such as street robbery, burglary, car theft, handling stolen goods or supplying drugs. You may then be arrested and taken to a police station where you may be tested to find out if you've taken any Class A drugs.

You cannot be forced to provide a sample for testing; however, it is an offence to refuse to provide a sample without good cause.

What are the penalties for Possession or Supply of drugs?

The penalty for supply or possession of a drug relates to what classification that drug has been given.

Class A drugs

Penalties for possession: Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both
Penalties for supply (dealing): Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine, or both

Class B drugs

Penalties for possession: Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both
Penalties for supply (dealing): Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both

Class C drugs

Penalties for possession: Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both
Penalties for supply (dealing): Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both.

Police have special powers to stop, detain and search people on ‘reasonable suspicion’ that they are in possession of a controlled drug.

The above penalties are given in a Crown Court. In a Magistrates Court, where less serious offences are dealt with, the maximum sentence is six months imprisonment and a £5000 fine. The actual sentence you're likely to get will also depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The drug involved;
  • Any previous criminal record;
  • Your personal circumstances

Drug trafficking (supply) attracts serious punishment including life imprisonment for Class A offences.

Cultivation of Cannabis

Another offence exists specifically for Cannabis production know as Cultivation of Cannabis. It is an offence for anyone to grow any form of Cannabis plant, unless they have a license for Industrial production. This Offence carries a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.

Producing Drugs

Producing Drugs means being involved in manufacturing drugs, often in large quantities and sometimes for sale.  This offence carries the following penalties:

Class A Drugs – Up to life imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.

Class B Drugs – Up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both

Class C Drugs – Up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both

Allowing Premises to be Used for the Use, Supply or Production of Drugs

It is an Offence to allow premises to be used for the Use, Supply or Production of Drugs. You are guilty of an offence if you knowingly permit any of the aforementioned activities to take place on premises owned by you or under your control.

Importing Drugs

The Customs and Excise Management Act in combination with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes it an offence to import Drugs into the Country. This offence carries the following sentences:

Importing Class A Drugs can be tried in either the Crown Court or the Magistrates Court and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. This would be reserved for the most serious of offences.

Importing Amphetamine can be tried in either the Crown Courtcontact us or the Magistrates Court and carries a maximum penalty at 14 years imprisonment.

Importing Cannabis can be tried in either the Crown Court or the Magistrates Court and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

Please contact us if you require legal advice or representation for any drugs related offence.