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What are the most common drug offences?

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Across the UK, there are roughly 175,000 drug offences per year, with 10.8% of crimes across the country being drug-related in some way. Because of this, there are a number of common drug offences.

A drug offence may occur for a number of reasons, including the misuse of illegal substances, use, creation, and distribution of these drugs. These offences have the potential to be quite severe, particularly if there are Class A drugs involved.

Class A drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and heroin are considered the most dangerous drugs taken. Causing massive damage to users’ health and wellbeing. Offences involving these drugs are considered more severe, and those involved often have to seek legal assistance from drug offence solicitors.

Misuse of other classes of drugs, for example, Class B, C and Temporary Class will also be an offence. The most common drug offences in the UK are:

  • Possession of cannabis
  • Possession of illegal substances
  • Possession with intent to supply
  • Supplying drugs
  • Production of drugs
  • Importation of drugs

Learn more in the article below.

Possession of cannabis

Cannabis is a Class B drug and is considered the most commonly used illegal substance in the UK. Because of this, being charged for possession of cannabis is the most frequent drug offence found in the UK.

According to drug offence statistics, 29.6% of people between the ages of 16 and 59 have used cannabis at least once in their life. Cannabis is made from a plant that is easily grown in the UK, making it accessible to many and being one of the reasons why offences related to this drug are so common.

Although it is not considered as damaging as Class A drugs and was even made a Class C drug briefly in 2004, cannabis is still considered dangerous. Known as a gateway drug, many people feel more comfortable experimenting with cannabis than other drugs.

Buying cannabis, however, gives people experience buying illegal substances and getting in touch with dealers, making them much more likely to try other drugs in the future.

Being caught in possession of cannabis is an offence. The maximum penalty for possession of cannabis is up to 7 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. However, this does depend on the severity of the situation. First offenders who only possess a small amount of cannabis are often released with a warning.

If charged with possession, the offender may receive:

  • 7 years imprisonment for Class A drugs
  • 5 years for Class B drugs
  • Up to 2 years for Class C

Possession of illegal substances

But cannabis isn’t the only illegal substance you can be charged for possessing. It is illegal to be in physical possession or control of any form of a controlled substance, even if the individual does not know that it is in their possession. This is a common offence in the UK.

Being in possession of a drug can include the authorities finding the substance in a pocket, bag or even the individual’s car or home. In addition, possession of controlled legal substances like alcohol or tobacco is not considered an offence. To be charged for possession of Class A, B or C drugs should be involved.

There are a number of factors that affects the severity of possession, this includes:

  • The quantity of drugs possessed
  • The individual’s personal history of drug offences
  • The type of drug (Class A, B or C)
  • Intent to supply

Possession with intent to supply

Another common drug offence in the UK is possession with intent to supply. If you are found in possession of illegal substances, and there is proof of your intent to supply, the charges will be much more severe.

Generally, it will be believed that an individual had the intent to supply if the number of drugs found in that person’s possession was higher than expected for personal use.

Additionally, they may be charged for possession with intent to supply if there is clear evidence that they were going to do so. For instance, text messages, phone calls, or physical records.

If charged with intent to supply, the offender may receive:

  • A maximum 14-year prison sentence for Class C or B drugs.
  • The chance of a life sentence for Class A drugs

Supplying drugs

Supplying drugs is when an individual gives illegal drugs to another, either as a gift or in exchange for money. You can be charged with an offence for supplying, offering to supply, and even just being connected to a supplier of drugs.

It’s important to note that it does not matter whether supplying drugs is done by a large organisation or if it is simply a friend sharing some cannabis, it is all considered supplying, and offenders will be charged as such.

If charged with intent to supply, the offender may receive:

  • A life sentence for supplying Class A drugs
  • 14 years imprisonment for supplying Class B or C drugs
  • Unlimited fines

It is an offence to supply a controlled drug to another person. In order to establish guilt, the prosecution need only show that the defendant transferred the physical control of a drug to someone else. It is not important whether the defendant made a profit or benefited in any way, although this will be reflected in sentencing. Supply can therefore range from passing a joint between friends to a large-scale supply of crack for profit.

Production of drugs

The production of drugs can result in severe consequences for those involved. The most common types of production offence are production of a controlled drug and being connected to the production of a controlled drug.

This includes the manufacturing, creation, and cultivation of any sort of illegal drug, for example, growing and preparing cannabis. To be specific, to be charged with production of drugs, an individual simply has to be a part of any process that prepares illegal substances for consumption. 

If charged with the production of drugs, the offender may receive:

  • A life sentence for producing Class A drugs
  • 14 years imprisonment for supplying Class B or C drugs
  • Unlimited fines

Importation of drugs

Finally, importation is considered one of the most serious drug offences and, as such, is not as common as offences like possession in the UK.

Taking a controlled drug in or out of the country is illegal. You can be charged for the importation of drugs if an individual played a direct part in the importation or even for being connected to the operation.

The severity of the importation charges will depend on the type of drug involved and how large a part the defendant played. This may be a significant or lesser role.

It’s important to understand that you don’t have to have directly taken part in the importation of drugs to be charged. For example, if you hire a vehicle that is used to transport these substances, you are still considered to have a lesser role.

If charged with the importation of drugs, the offender may receive:

  • A life sentence for producing Class A drugs
  • 14 years imprisonment for supplying Class B or C drugs
  • Unlimited fines

Do you need help with a drug offence?

If you are facing charges for possession, supply, production, or the importation of drugs, get in touch with our drug offence solicitors today. We can provide expert legal support to help you through this difficult time.

Get in touch with our drug offences solicitors now by using our simple contact form to request a call back or contact us on one of the following numbers:

  • Call 0333 009 5968 – for standard enquiries during office hours
  • WhatsApp 07535 215140 – for 24/7 emergency support including police station representation