County Lines Drug Dealing Offences

At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, our criminal defence lawyers have advised and represented a number of clients facing charges related to county lines drug dealing operations. Our specialist expertise in these complex cases means we can provide skilled and experienced guidance through all stages of criminal proceedings, protecting your legal rights and giving you the best chance of a successful outcome.

Our criminal defence team speak a wide range of languages allowing us to offer clear, effective legal advice to people from all backgrounds. We have a strong track record of success for clients facing even the most complex and serious charges connected to county lines drug dealing, with many of our clients coming to us via recommendations from previous clients we have helped.

  • Have you or someone close to you been arrested for a county lines drug offence?
  • Are you required to attend a police station by appointment?
  • Have you been released on bail to return to the police station?
  • Have you been charged with conspiracy to supply drugs or an offence under the Modern Slavery Act?
  • Have you received a postal summons or requisition?

For a free initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, contact our local offices in LondonBirmingham or Manchester.

Need immediate legal support? Our accredited Police Station Representatives are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Please use the emergency numbers listed at the top of the page for on-the-spot specialist legal representation for possession of drugs charges.

Offences related to county lines drug dealing often carry very serious penalties in the UK.  Should you be arrested or charged with a county lines-related offence, having specialist, expert legal support can be critical to your defence. 

JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors have over forty years’ experience acting in some of England and Wales’s most high-profile criminal cases, so can provide immediate, first-class legal support for those charges with the most serious drug offences.

If you have been charged with a county lines drug dealing offence, you can contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our criminal defence expertise

Our criminal defence team have decades of experience supporting clients facing charges relating to drug dealing offences and other serious criminal offences. We have a thorough understanding of the complexities of these types of serious offences and can ensure no detail or possible angle of defence is overlooked, giving you the strongest chance of securing the best available outcome.

We have particular expertise in dealing with complex phone data and other types of digital data, as well as data disclosure issues that are often critical in county lines cases. Our team works with a number of specialist data experts to ensure all relevant data is disclosed by the prosecution, then reviewed and considered for its relevance to your defence.

We have extensive experience representing clients in both Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court and our team includes a number of accredited police station representatives, meaning we can also provide 24-hour police station representation. 

Our team have been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation and Children Law, recognising that we have the mix of skills required to effectively represent both adults and children in criminal matters.

JD Spicer Zeb is also Lexcel accredited by the Law Society, meaning we meet the highest levels of good management and customer care set by the Law Society of England and Wales.

Our expert team speak multiple languages and we have approved external interpreters who can assist us if required, meaning we can deliver our services in more than 60 languages. Please take a look at our list of languages spoken to find out more

What counts as a county lines drug offence?

‘County lines’ refers to the use of children to traffic drugs into rural areas. The practice typically involves children travelling across counties, often carrying drugs or cash from and to major cities such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, with the criminal activity organised via mobile phones.

The children recruited by criminal gangs in county lines drug dealing are often considered vulnerable, for example because they are homeless or living in care. The Children’s Commissioner for England estimates that as many as 46,000 children are involved in criminal gang activity, including county lines drug dealing.

While children involved in county lines drug dealing may sometimes be treated as victims of child exploitation, in many cases they are treated as criminals in their own right and may be arrested and charged as such.

Gangs also often target vulnerable adults, including those with learning disabilities. Establishing whether vulnerable adults are victims of exploitation or willing participants in the operation is often challenging but can be critical to our defence strategy.

What are the penalties for county lines drug offences?

There are various offences people may be charged with in relation to a county lines drug dealing operation. The severity of the criminal penalties you may face will depend on the type of offence you are charged with as well as various other factors, but substantial jail terms are often handed down by judges for those convicted of county lines-related offences.

Charges related to conspiracy to supply drugs are some of the most common for those involved in a county lines operation. Depending on the circumstances, such cases may be tried either in a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court, with the maximum penalties including an unlimited fine and life imprisonment.

Those involved in operating a county lines drug dealing scheme may also face charges under the Modern Slavery Act. This covers offences related to arranging or facilitating the travel of another person for the purposes of exploitation. Those charged under the Modern Slavery Act may be tried in a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court and the maximum sentence will typically be up to ten years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. However, if the offence involves kidnapping or false imprisonment, the sentence could go up to life imprisonment.

What are my rights when arrested for county lines drug dealing?

If you are arrested on suspicion of a county lines drug offence and taken to a police station for questioning, it is important to be aware of your rights to make sure you do not unintentionally say or do anything to harm your defence.

A key point to understand is that you do not have to answer any questions and the police are required to caution you by using the words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.

At the time of your arrest, the police officers involved must explain why you are being arrested and the crime they believe you have committed.

After the interview, the police will either give you a caution, meaning you are free to leave and will not be fined, or you will be charged with a specific criminal offence and released on bail. When released on bail, a date will be set for your court appearance.

What defence is there against a county lines drug dealing offence?

For children charged with a county lines drug offence, it is often possible to make a defence that they were the victims of child exploitation, rather than acting as criminals of their own free will. This can allow the children in question to avoid criminal penalties or see the severity of those penalties significantly reduced.

Where a vulnerable adult has been caught up in a county lines operation, their defence will usually rely on demonstrating that they are a victim of the criminal gang running the operation, rather than a willing participant in their own right.

For those facing conspiracy to supply drugs charges, there may sometimes be a defence that they were not aware that the activity they were involved in was part of a criminal operation. It is also sometimes the case that people become caught up in conspiracy charges through no fault of their own, for example, where a property they own is used by a criminal gang without their knowledge.

Phone data and other types of digital data can often be critical to a county lines drug dealing defence, as can the accuracy of Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software, which is frequently used to identifying the vehicles and participants in a county lines case. By working with a number of specialist technical experts, we can ensure any potential flaws in the prosecution’s evidence are identified and used for your defence where appropriate.

Our expert criminal defence lawyers understand all of the possible defences to county lines drug charges, so can ensure no possible angle of defence is overlooked.

Contact our criminal law defence solicitors today

For urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about a country lines drug dealing offence or any other criminal matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact a member of our dedicated team of criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 - our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City.
  • Brent & Camden London Office: 020 7624 7771
  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333

Or email:

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 county lines drug offences

For immediate representation and advice, you can contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556, and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.


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