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Drugs Investigation / Prosecution Process
Being involved, or having a family member or friend, prosecuted for a drugs offence can be a stressful experience, especially if it is your first experience of the legal system.
There are many routes a prosecution for a drugs matter can take depending on the class of drug, quantity and of course the offence that has been deemed to have taken place.
Here we have outlined the basics of what may happen during each stage of an investigation and what your rights are during this time. Should you have any questions or need representation for a drugs matter from an experienced solicitor then you can call us on 0333 011 0515.
Our services are available throughout England and Wales including the North West, Liverpool and Wirral.
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Drugs Arrest / Raid
If there is a suspicion or evidence that a drug offence is being committed then the police can search and arrest you.
If the offence is of a more serious nature, such as producing / manufacturing drugs or supplying drugs, then the police, or SOCA, may raid a property which they believe the offence is taken place in.
Raids often happen during the morning, dawn raids, in order to surprise and detain suspects. The information is usually gathered by intelligence such as surveillance, undercover police, recorded conversations etc.
During a raid the enforcement agencies will seize anything they suspect and deem to be used for drugs so that it may be used later as evidence against you. Examples of items that can be seized may be the actual drugs, drug paraphernalia such as scales, money, mobile phones and supply lists.
Interview Under Caution for Drugs
At interview under caution you have the right to be represented by your own solicitor or a duty solicitor. You also have the right to remain silent and give a no comment interview however if you are later charged with an offence and the case goes to trial this can be used as evidence against you. Your solicitor should advise you on how it is best to proceed.
The police should follow the PACE (police and evidence act 1984) codes of practice. This directs them on how to deal with interviews under caution, detained suspects and their rights.
During the interview your chosen solicitor will help guide you through the questions and procedures. If there are no more questions to be asked or the time limit for detention has been reached then the police may offer a caution, bail you to a later date if they believe there are more questions to be asked or evidence to be gathered or charge you with an offence if they believe they have enough evidence against you.
If they charge you then you may be kept on remand, in custody, and taken to a local court the following day (if it is open).
At Court for Drug Offences
All cases start at the Magistrates' Court although for the more serious offences this may only be a committal hearing which means that your case will be sent to the Crown Court. For less serious offences such as possession and possession with intent to supply (small quantities) then the case may be dealt with by the Magistrates' Court.
Not Guilty Plea
If you are pleading not guilty to an offence then your case will go to trial. Your chosen solicitor and/or barrister will work together with you.
In the Magistrates' your trial is heard in front of a District Judge or a bench of lay Magistrates.
At Crown Court your case will be heard in front of a judge and a sworn in jury.
If you are pleading guilty to a drugs offence then you will still need a solicitor to represent your interests at court.
If you are found guilty after a trial or plead guilty then a proceeds of crime order may be enforced to recover any benefits that are believed to have been gained through the criminal offence.
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If you, a family member or friend require representation for drugs matters at the police station or at court then you can call us on 0333 011 0515. Our experienced defence solicitors are can help defend your interests at an interview and at court. We also have a dedicated POCA team who can help with proceedings that may follow a case.
Our defence solicitors are available throughout England and Wales including the North West, Liverpool and Wirral. Our lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.