Defending Charges of Possession with Intent to Supply (PWITS)
Possession With Intent To Supply is a serious offence and you cannot afford to wait before seeking a Drug Offence Solicitor. Early legal advice will ensure that a more favourable outcome is reached and given the seriousness of the charges, you need to make sure that a trusted lawyer is by your side.
Over three million people in England and Wales reported using drugs in the year 2019 -2020. In the year to March 2021, there were 166,618 police recorded crimes for possessing controlled substances, making up 3% of overall crime. With figures so high, and continuing to rise, the charge of PWITS is one that we see quite regularly. Even so, it can be challenging, and the sentences can be punitive, so it is crucial that you get the very best advice available if you are arrested or charged for Possession With Intent To Supply.
At Draycott Browne, we are used to assisting clients from all backgrounds, from minor to extremely serious charges, and we can offer the very best support at every stage of the legal process. We know how to effectively protect your legal rights and assess mitigating circumstances so that we can achieve the most positive available outcome for you.
Call today or fill out the enquiry form, and a member of our Criminal Defence team will get back to you as soon as possible.
What is meant by possession with intent to supply?
In England and Wales, being in possessing a controlled drug with the intention of supplying it to another person who should not possess it is illegal – even where the drug is lawfully possessed in the first instance.
In law, Possession With Intent To Supply is under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and is a very serious charge, so if you or someone you know are facing charges, it’s crucial that you receive specialist Criminal Defence legal advice as soon as possible. It is sometimes called possession with intent to sell.
The prosecution have certain PWITS points to prove before you can be found guilty of this charge. These are factors which need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt in court and include that:
1. You were in possession of the drug– so they need to prove that it was either on your person or part of your property, in your coat, bag, car or house, for example.
2. The substance found in your possession was controlled – i.e., it appears on the list of drugs that are restricted by the government because of their potential to be abused or to cause addiction.
3. You intended to supply the drug to someone who has no right to possess it. You do not need to have actually gone through with the supply in order to be prosecuted, it just needs to be proven that you had the intention to supply.
However, it can be difficult to show where the charge of possession of drugs crosses into possession with intent to supply. Because of this, taking advice from an expert in Criminal Defence Law is imperative. At Draycott Browne, our expert team of Drug Offences Solicitors have many years of experience in representing clients facing serious drug offences. Whether the charges against you relate to a relatively small amount of drugs, or you are facing accusations of involvement on a larger scale, we can offer thorough advice and robust representation. We will examine the proof against you, and where possible we will work to have the charges of possession with intent to supply downgraded to the charge of possession, or dropped altogether.
What are controlled drugs?
A controlled drug is not necessarily an illegal drug, but the use of a controlled drug is restricted by the government because it comes with the risk of causing serious issues or harm. Controlled drugs can be prescribed lawfully, such as certain painkillers, amphetamines or steroids, and possessing them is not a crime. However, if you intend to supply them to someone else, having these drugs in your possession can become a crime.
What is meant by supply?
If you are accused of having the intent to supply, it means that you intended to give, or to pass on, a controlled drug to another person. This means that the act of passing a joint to another person and being involved in a large-scale operation to sell drugs are both classed as supplying a drug. Money does not need to change hands for you to be found guilty of supplying a controlled substance, the intent is enough.
It is important to be extremely prudent if arrested for supplying drugs – a solicitor will be able to represent you and make sure that you do not inadvertently say something that is used against you in court, or that can be used to demonstrate guilt, because you did not know your legal rights. Your solicitor will advise you on the best way to respond to the allegations against you.
What evidence is used to prove a charge of possession with intent to supply?
To decide whether there was intent to supply, rather than just possession, the prosecution will consider a wide range of evidence. They will study any statement that you made to the police at the time of arrest or in custody, phone records, text messages, witness statements or CCTV footage, in addition to:
- The possession of a large quantity of drugs above and beyond what might be expected if you were to claim possession for personal use
- The possession of different types of drugs, or quantities of uncut or pure drugs that may have recently been imported
- Evidence of drugs being prepared for sale, such as weighed into bags or wrapped in foils
- Being in possession of drug-related paraphernalia, such as weighing scales and cutting agents
- Any drugs found on you, or in or on your property
- Any written evidence such as client lists and accounts or details of money taken or owed
- Any evidence of large or unexplained amounts of money, or assets that show extravagant spending.
Will i be tried in a Magistrates’ or Crown Court?
If you are charged with possession with intent to supply, you can be tried in both a Magistrates and a Crown Court. However, if the minimum prison sentence is 7 years, then this must be tried in a Crown Court. In reality, most of the time where Class A or Class B drugs are involved, you will be tried at Crown Court. It is vital that you have legal representation if you are accused of this type of offence, as the penalties can be severe. We can best advise you and give you the best possible chance of a lighter outcome.
What defences are available?
There are a number of defences available if you are charged with possession with intent to supply – some are applicable to any crime, but there are a couple of specific defences in relation to drugs offences. One of the most common defences is that the crime was committed because of the threat of violence or harm that might ensue otherwise. Here, it may be possible to negotiate a more lenient outcome. The court would need to consider whether this was a reasonable or appropriate response.
Another common defence is lack of knowledge – it may be possible to argue that you were not aware that you were in possession of a controlled drug, for example, if someone planted it on you without you knowing. Your solicitor will be able to assess your circumstances and work out the strongest line of defence available to you. If you need guidance about your defence or any aspect of your charge, get in touch with us as soon as possible.
Will I go to prison if found guilty of possession with intent to supply?
If you are found guilty of possessing controlled drugs with the intent to supply, there are a range of factors that will contribute to the sentencing decision. These include the amount or quantity of drugs involved and their street value, your position in the supply chain and your role in it, any gang-related activity, the potential harm caused and any previous convictions.
In general terms, the penalties and offence ranges are:
- Possession with intent to supply Class A drugs: punishments range from a community order up to 16 years in prison, with the maximum sentence of life imprisonment
- Possession with intent to supply Class B drugs: punishments range from a fine up to 10 years in prison, with a maximum of 14 years in prison
- Possession with intent to supply Class C drugs: punishments range from a fine through to eight years in prison. The maximum punishment is 14 years in prison.
In addition to custodial sentences, unlimited fines can be administered, and if convicted, it is probable that an application will be made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to have any money or assets that you received as a result of the activity confiscated.
Despite the possibility of these sentences, if you are found to be involved in the production of controlled substances, this can carry much more severe penalties. For example, a guilty charge of cultivation of cannabis carries with it a minimum sentence of three years, and this is only given if your involvement was minor. You could also be charged with a conspiracy to supply drugs, which involves planning to sell drugs, whilst you may not actually have carried this out.
A good solicitor will work to find any mitigating factors to try and reduce the sentence and to give you the best possible chance of receiving the most lenient sentence possible. Depending on the severity, you may be tried in the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. If it involves Class A or B drugs, it is unusual for it not to be sent to the Crown Court.
Can I appeal the Court’s decision?
If a court finds you guilty, you have the option to appeal your conviction or sentence. If you choose to appeal, Draycott Browne can advise you on how to proceed. We will make sure that you fully understand your rights, and will apply to the Court on your behalf. We will work tirelessly on your case, doing everything in our power to ensure that you have the best possible chance of success.
What happens if it is my first offence?
Being a first-time offender does not mean that you will not be convicted. If the prosecution can prove that you possessed drugs which were not legal to be in your possession, and you intended to supply these to another person, then you can still be sentenced.
However, if this is your first offence, this could be used as a mitigating factor which could mean that the sentence you receive will be lighter. Other factors which can be used are age, maturity level, statements showing good character and if you were involved due to pressure or coercion.
How can we defend your case successfully?
Successfully defending this type of offence involves legal experts which we can provide at Draycott Browne. We will examine all of the evidence including:
- Expert analysis of the evidence used, such as undercover police recordings and statements
- Expert analysis of evidence not used by the prosecution
- Using our own forensic scientists to estimate the purity and value of the drugs
- Use of our legal experts to assess analysis at the site such as mobile phone use
- Asking witnesses to prepare statements
If you have been accused of possession with intent to supply, it is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as is possible. This is because you could self-incriminate yourself whilst at the police station, and the earlier our expert solicitors are involved, the higher your chances are of an optimal outcome.
Why choose Draycott Browne?
If you or someone you know need help concerning allegations of drug offences, including intent to supply, contact Draycott Browne for effective, high-quality legal advice as soon as possible. We have an excellent reputation across the legal profession and are well respected for our ability to build robust defence cases and our consistent delivery of favourable outcomes for our clients.
We are skilled in our abilities to assess any case, identifying any flaws in the evidence against you and can often negotiate lesser charges as a result. For example, it may be in your interests to plead guilty to the lesser charge of being in possession of a controlled drug, rather than intent to supply. We will appraise all of the evidence and offer you pragmatic and considered advice, keeping your best interests at the forefront of everything that we do.
Our highly skilled team of solicitors have extensive expertise in this area of the law and will advise you at each stage of your case, making sure that you are taking the right decisions as you go through this complex and often stressful process. We guarantee to offer outstanding advice and representation, no matter how serious or challenging the case.
If you are facing intent to supply charges, contact us now. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and whether you need urgent advice or representation we can help, no matter where you are in England and Wales. We offer an initial no-obligation consultation and will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
If you or a loved one is accused of possession with intent to supply, it is essential that you engage the expertise of criminal defence solicitors who will be able to help and advise you on a defence strategy as soon as possible. By entrusting your case to us, you can be assured that you will be working with a team of highly skilled and committed legal specialists who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the law.
As one of the UK's leading Drug Offence Solicitors, we are highly regarded nationally across the legal profession and noted for consistently delivering positive results for our clients.
Our expert Drug Crime Solicitors regularly act for clients in Manchester, Preston, Blackpool, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, and London. As recognised Serious Crime Lawyers we can represent you wherever you live in England and Wales.
Our legal team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or somebody you know has been arrested and needs expert legal representation, contact Draycott Browne today.