Drug Defence Lawyers

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  • Specialist Drug Offence Lawyers
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Drug Offence Solicitors

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, it is illegal to be in possession of a controlled substance which falls into Class A, B or C, and the police treat drug offences incredibly seriously. If you are arrested on suspicion of a drug offence or facing criminal charges, it is vital that you seek legal representation as early as possible.

Our experienced drug offence solicitors have the knowledge and expertise to ensure that whatever the circumstance, we achieve the most favourable outcome for your case. That could mean uncovering the evidence that leads to the charges against you being dropped or that you receive a lesser sentence where imprisonment is unavoidable.

We understand how distressing it is to be accused of or charged with a serious drug offence. Our dedicated team is committed to providing comprehensive legal support throughout the entire process, from the initial interview to court appearances and beyond. We strive to ensure you receive the highest level of defence, guiding you and your loved ones through each step with the utmost professionalism and care.

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What are the Different Types of Drug Offences?

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, a drug offence is any criminal activity related to controlled substances and can include the following:

  • Possession: It is illegal to be in possession of a controlled substance, including Class A, B, and C substances and certain medications, without a legitimate prescription or authorization.
  • Possession with intent to supply: This offence involves possessing controlled substances with the intent to sell, distribute, or supply to others.
  • Production or cultivation: This includes producing, cultivating, and manufacturing controlled substances, including growing cannabis plants or manufacturing synthetic drugs.
  • Trafficking and distribution: Trafficking or distributing illegal drugs involves the transportation, importation, exportation, or sale of controlled substances.
  • Drug importation: This includes the importing of illegal drugs into the UK by different means, such as carrying the drugs through international borders or via postal services.
  • Drug conspiracy: This refers to participation in a conspiracy to commit drug-related offences, for example, planning or facilitating the trafficking, distribution, or production of controlled substances.
  • Money laundering: This is considered a drug offence when the money being laundered is associated with drug trafficking activities and involves the conversion or concealment of proceeds derived from drug sales to disguise their illicit origin.
  • Driving under the influence: Operating a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs can impair a person’s ability to drive safely and is a criminal offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

If you are facing a conviction for any drug offence, we can help you. Our specialist drug offence solicitors have helped many people just like you. We work tirelessly to ensure the most favourable outcome in each case, from having the charges dropped to securing a lesser sentence.

What are the Penalties for Drug Offences?

There are many factors which determine the penalties for drug offences, including the classification of the drugs involved, the quantity of drugs, the type of crime committed, the severity of the crime, and the criminal history of the defendant.

The potential penalties for each type of drug offence in the UK are as follows:


  • Class A Drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms and crystal meth, can incur up to seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Class B Drugs, including codeine, ketamine, cannabis and spice, can incur up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Class C Drugs, including anabolic steroids, minor tranquillisers, GHB and khat, can incur up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Possession with intent to supply

  • Class A Drugs: Up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Class B Drugs: Up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Class C Drugs: Up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Production or cultivation

The penalties for producing or cultivating drugs can vary depending on the scale of the operation and the type of drugs involved:

  • For large-scale production or cultivation of Class A drugs, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
  • For smaller-scale operations or Class B/C drugs, the maximum penalty is up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Trafficking and distribution

Penalties for drug trafficking are typically determined by the type and quantity of drugs involved, with maximum sentences ranging from several years to life imprisonment.


Importing illegal drugs into the UK is a serious offence which can result in substantial fines, confiscation of assets, and lengthy prison sentences, often up to life imprisonment, for the importation of Class A drugs.

Conspiracy to commit drug offences

Participating in a conspiracy to commit drug-related offences can result in significant penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines.

Money laundering

Money laundering offences associated with drug trafficking activities can result in significant prison sentences and fines, as well as the confiscation of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

In addition to criminal penalties, individuals convicted of drug offences may face other consequences, such as seizure of assets, forfeiture of property, and restrictions on travel and employment opportunities. It’s also important to note that sentencing guidelines for drug offences in the UK are subject to change and may be influenced by factors such as the seriousness of the offence and the defendant’s cooperation with law enforcement authorities.

What Defence is there in a Drug Offence Case?

When you choose Clifford Johnston Solicitors to represent your defence in a drug offence case, you can be assured that we will explore every viable defence route to ensure the most favourable outcome for you.

We begin by examining the evidence against you—a primary defence is lack of possession, where we show you did not have actual or constructive possession of the drugs. We also challenge the legality of the search and seizure; if it was unlawful, the evidence may be inadmissible due to rights violations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

For possession with intent to supply charges, we argue lack of intent to distribute or sell, showing the drugs were for personal use. If coercion was involved, we use duress or coercion as a defence, demonstrating you were forced to commit the offence under threats of harm. We also consider entrapment, where law enforcement may have induced you to commit an offence you otherwise would not have.

Other defences include examining chain of custody issues, questioning the integrity of evidence handling and addressing mistaken identity by establishing an alibi or introducing reasonable doubt. Mental health defences may also be applicable, arguing that issues like addiction impacted your ability to form intent or control your actions.

Key Defence Strategies:

  • Lack of possession
  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • Lack of intent
  • Duress or coercion
  • Entrapment
  • Chain of custody issues
  • Mistaken identity
  • Mental health defences

It’s important to note that the success of any defence strategy depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the case and the skill and expertise of the solicitors representing the defendant. Consulting with a qualified legal professional is essential for exploring potential defences and building a robust defence strategy in drug offence cases. To learn more about how the drug offence solicitors at Clifford Johnston & Co. can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact our Drug Offence Solicitors Today

Our Drug Offence Solicitors specialise in complex serious crime offences. We defend clients across the UK in all criminal law matters, having built up a robust national reputation for our services.

Our experienced Stockport & Manchester Solicitors are experts in their fields and take pride in providing a positive difference for our clients.

If you’ve been made aware that you are the subject of an investigation or have been arrested or invited for an interview, contact us immediately. Our expert criminal defence lawyers are available to assist you throughout each step of the process, helping you to understand your options and seek the best outcome for the circumstances.

Need some professional advice?

Do you have any issues that you are worried about? Contact our professional team for a free, no-obligation informal discussion, where we can discuss your particular requirements in greater detail.

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