Drug offences fall into four main categories:
1. Possession of drugs
In most cases, the answer to the question of whether someone is in possession of something will be straightforward.
However, it can be more complicated when a person is found to have something they did not know anything about or has something that they thought was one thing but turns out to be something else.
2. Possession of drugs with intent to supply
Possession with intent to supply (PWITS) is a more serious offence than sole possession.
This can take a number of forms; selling on a commercial basis to individual users, selling larger quantities to dealers, looking after drugs for someone, transporting drugs for someone, or buying drugs to share with friends. Although the offence is the same, the sentence will be very different.
Someone who buys cannabis to share with their friends is likely to get a community order whereas someone selling large quantities of Class A drugs (see more about drug classes below) for large sums of money can expect a very lengthy prison sentence.
3. Importation of drugs
Importation of drugs is normally charged as ‘the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition of the importation of a controlled drug’.
Again, the likely sentence will depend on the class of drug and the level of involvement of the individual, but it will almost certainly result in a prison sentence of several years.
4. Production of cannabis
Cannabis production is a separate offence. It covers everything from growing a handful of plants for your own use to commercial scale growing.
Anyone convicted of growing a small number of plants for their own benefit is likely to be given a community order, whereas anyone growing cannabis on a commercial scale is likely to be sent to prison for a number of years, again spending on the scale of the operation and the level of their involvement.
The consequences of committing drug offences
Anyone convicted of PWITS, drug importation of cannabis production may well face confiscation proceedings if it is felt that they have financially benefitted from their offending. This can often have serious consequences, as the benefit is usually calculated by reference to the value of the drugs.
There are three classes of drugs:
This includes drugs such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and crystal meth;
This is typically cannabis, but it also includes ketamine and amphetamines.
These include drugs such as diazepam, GHB or Khat.
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