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Possession with Intent to Supply Class A First Offence: What to Expect

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If you are found to be in possession of drugs, and it is suspected that you are holding them to pass on to another person, you could face a conviction of possession with intent to supply. As you might expect, the class of drug that is found in your possession will have an effect on the potential punishment you could face.

Even where you are convicted of possession with intent to supply Class A as a first offence, the serious nature of the crime means that you could still be liable to receive heavy penalties.

Here, we discuss everything you can expect if you are facing a charge of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs as a first offence in the UK, including the relevant sentencing guidelines that you should be aware of and what defences you may be able to use.

Do first-time drug dealers go to jail in the UK?

It is important to stress that offences involving ‘drug dealing’, including possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, are treated very seriously. Under certain circumstances, you could go to jail if you are convicted of the offence, even if you are a first-time offender.

Being a first-time offender can act as a mitigating factor when it comes to sentencing, but it may not be a sufficient enough reason in itself to prevent a prison sentence being handed out.

This highlights the importance of receiving tailored legal advice from expert criminal defence solicitors when you are facing allegations of possession with intent to supply as a first offence.

What are Class A drugs?

In the UK, controlled drugs are divided into three classes: A, B and C. Class A drugs are considered to be the most dangerous and, as such, carry the most serious penalties for relevant offences.

Examples of Class A drugs include:

  • Crack cocaine
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Magic mushrooms
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine (crystal meth)

What is possession with intent to supply?

As can be expected, having controlled drugs in your possession is against the law. However, where the police believe that you are holding the drugs with the purpose of passing them on to another person, this is a more serious offence.

It is important to note that, to bring forward a charge of possession with intent to supply, the prosecution does not need to show whether the intent to supply was for profit. Simply providing drugs to a friend could amount to possession with intent to supply.

The prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • The drugs were in your possession
  • The drugs were controlled (Class A drugs in the case of possession with intent to supply Class A)
  • The intention was to supply the drugs to someone else

How is intent to supply proven?

As the offence of possession with intent to supply focusses heavily on intent rather than an act of supply actually taking place, it is important to understand how the prosecution typically go about proving intent.

Prosecutions in possession with intent to supply trials are often based on circumstantial evidence and/or statements which are made by a defendant.

Evidence used by the prosecution to attempt to prove possession with intent to supply will often include:

  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Large/unexplained amounts of cash
  • Cutting agents
  • Lists of names and amounts of money owed
  • Mobile phone records
  • Text messages
  • CCTV evidence
  • Evidence of extravagant lifestyle

By way of contrast, a lack of this type of evidence can also be used to build a strong legal defence. This is something our solicitors can advise you on.

How much drugs amount to an offence of possession with intent to supply?

Technically, there is no legal minimum for the amount of drugs it takes for an offence to be brought forward. Being in possession of any amount of controlled drug could lead to a charge being brought if the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was an intention to supply.

In theory, if you are caught in possession of a very small amount of a certain drug, it may be possible to make the defence that there was no intent to supply and that it was for the purposes of personal consumption.

How long do you go to jail for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs?

Possession with intent to Supply Class A drugs sentencing guidelines vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the value of the drugs in question, your position within a supply chain, the amount of drugs involved and, importantly, whether you have any previous convictions.

The maximum custodial sentence you could be handed for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs is life imprisonment. The offence range is between a high-level community order and 16 years’ imprisonment.

The sentence for possession with intent to supply Class A as a first offence may be less severe, as this can often act as a mitigating factor.

What is the minimum sentence for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs?

The minimum sentence for possession with intent to supply Class A as a first offence in the UK is a high-level community order. This will be in cases where there are various factors that indicate a less serious penalty should be handed out, potentially including cases where you are a first-time offender.

Do cases of intent to supply Class A as a first offence get tried in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court?

The offence of possession with intent to supply is typically triable in either the Magistrates’ or Crown Court. However, where the offence involves possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, it is very rare for a case not to be sent to the Crown Court by the Magistrate.

Does being a first-time offender act as a defence in possession with intent to supply cases?

Simply being a first-time offender is not a defence in itself. If the prosecution can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that you were in possession of controlled drugs and there was an intent to supply them to another person, this will mean a conviction is possible – regardless of whether it is your first offence.

Being a first-time offender can, however, be a mitigating factor, meaning the sentence handed out is less severe. Additional mitigating factors include the incident being isolated, the alleged offender demonstrating good character, age and/or lack of maturity, or being involved due to pressure, intimidation or coercion.

What should you do if you are facing allegations of possession with intent to supply as a first offence in the UK?

If you have been arrested, or are under investigation, for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, it is essential that you clearly understand your legal rights and what actions could undermine your legal defence. Instructing an expert criminal defence solicitor is therefore essential.

Speaking to a solicitor will not harm your defence in anyway, nor will it signify guilt to the prosecution. It is an essential step that you should take to be sure that you have the legal support you need and have the best possible chance of avoiding charges or receiving a reduced penalty where conviction is unavoidable.

At JD Spicer Zeb, our drug offence solicitors have substantial experience and expertise in defending those accused of possession with intent to supply. When instructed, our team will carefully assess the particulars of your case and work to build the strongest possible defence.

Contact our drug offence solicitors today

For a free initial consultation (subject to exceptions), urgent specialist advice, immediate representation, or to speak to us confidentially about allegations of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated possession with intent to supply solicitors in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for criminal defence allegations

Please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our expert possession with intent to supply solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice on dealing with allegations relating to aggravated burglary.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number 07836 577 556.

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