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Tuesday, 16th October 2018

Drugs and the Law

Sentencing Council - new definitive guideline on drug offences.

This guideline on drug offences applies to all offenders aged 18 and over regardless of the date of their offence and comes into effect from 27 February 2012.

This replaces the guidelines for the above offences in the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines, with effect from 27 February 2012.It will bring sentencing guidance together for the first time to help to ensure consistent and proportionate sentencing for all drug offences that come before courts in England and Wales.

The guideline covers the most commonly sentenced offences - importation, production, supply, permitting premises to be used for drug offences and possession. All drugs from class A to C are covered by the guideline, which will be used for sentencing in both the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts.

Under the new guideline there are likely to be increased sentence lengths for those guilty of large scale production offences and reduced sentence lengths for drug mules. Sentences for drug mules - who are usually vulnerable and exploited by organised criminals - will have a starting point of six years imprisonment*.

There will be no change in sentencing for possession or drug supply offences. Where an offender profits from selling drugs, a prison sentence can be expected. Street dealers who have a significant role in selling class A drugs, particularly those who sell drugs for profit can expect a custodial sentence with a starting point of four and a half years. Sentences could go up to 16 years for a single incident depending on the quantity of drugs involved.

The guideline also introduces a new aggravating factor to supply offences to ensure that where offenders are dealing to those under the age of 18 they are treated more severely.

In order to encourage a consistent approach to sentencing the same guideline will be applicable to both the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts. The guideline has however, been produced in two different versions to fit within existing formats for judges and magistrates.

More info here:

Below is list of PDF articles to download:

Drug offences definitive guideline – Crown Court

Drug offences definitive guideline – Magistrates’ Courts

Full version of the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines incorporating Update 6