UK drug laws – the penalties for drug related offences

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UK drug laws – the penalties for drug related offences

In the UK it is an offence to take drugs, carry drugs, make drugs and sell, deal or share (supply) drugs. The penalties available to the courts – fines and possibly prison sentences – vary depending on which of the government’s three ‘classes’ or categories of prohibited substances are involved, the quantities and the nature of the offence. The table below outlines the drugs in the three classes and the maximum penalties associated with each.

As with all UK law, the individual circumstances of the case will also have a bearing on the outcome, which is why expert legal assistance is important at every stage of proceedings. The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) possess in-depth knowledge of the laws and the experience to use them to secure convictions. Without a specialist defence lawyer to balance the equation, a defendant will be at a serious disadvantage.

This is the nature of the adversarial legal system in the UK and defendants should always seek the best possible representation. Nelson Guest and Partners have more than 25 years’ experience of such matters and we provide meticulous service, from assistance at the police station through to expert representation in court. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us 24/7 on 020 8309 5010 or email

Drug Table

You can get also get a fine or prison sentence for carrying, supplying, selling, dealing or sharing a psychoactive substance; these include things like nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’).

These are defines as ‘things that cause hallucinations, drowsiness or changes in alertness, perception of time and space, mood or empathy with others. Food, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, medicine and the types of drugs listed above do not count as psychoactive substances.

Penalties can include up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

For advice contact Nelson Guest and Partners immediately - 020 8309 5010


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