Sentencing for Drugs Offences

Sentencing for Drugs OffencesNew sentencing guidelines will come in to force on 1 April 2021 in respect of a number of drugs offences and will apply to cases sentenced on or after that date. The update is designed to reflect modern drug offending and to provide new guidelines for offences created by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

These new guidelines introduce aggravating factors that could increase sentences for offenders who use the home of a vulnerable person (so-called ‘cuckooing’), exploit children or run county lines in their offending.

As new and more powerful drugs have been brought onto the market over recent years, including various kinds of “Spice”, and synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl and Carfentanil, the new guidelines will make provision for such substances.

Research conducted by the Sentencing Guidelines Council has revealed that there are disparities in sentence outcomes for some drug offences associated with ethnicity and sex. The Council has taken measures in the guidelines to address this and has stated that it is committed to further investigating apparent disparity in sentencing outcomes.

It is too difficult to predict with any degree of certainty what will happen in relation to overall sentence lengths once these guidelines come in to force. Our expectation based on previous experience, however, is that some offenders may face longer sentences.

As a firm, we will be carefully monitoring the impact of the guidelines and will not hesitate to advise on appeal where necessary.

How can we help?

We keep up to date with changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Martin Smith on 07494 144731 or by email Alternatively, please use our contact us form and one of solicitors will call you back. 


[Image credit: “Day 53 – Early morning drugs raid in Dudley” by West Midlands Police is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)