As Christmas approaches and we begin to let our hair down a little and enjoy the festivities, some people are enticed into the world of so-called ‘recreational drugs’.
There are a great many substances that might properly be categorised as ‘recreational’, popular ones being cannabis and cocaine. First use often occurs at a party, perhaps due to normal inhibitions being diminished by alcohol or the sheer fun of the occasion. Despite the apparent short-term joys that might flow from drug use, the harsh reality for some is felt for a long time after that.
This is the other side of drug use, as seen through the eyes of the criminal justice system, told via a series of case studies.
‘Sara saw no harm in smoking a few joints of cannabis. If anything, she felt better than she had for a long time. She was never stupid enough to drink drive, but did not realise just how long cannabis would remain in her system. But for the faulty brake light the police officer would not have pulled her over the next morning, would not have asked for a roadside drugs test, would not have arrested her and kept her in a cell for 5 hours and would not have charged her with drug driving and had her produced before a court. But for her ignorance of the effect of drugs, she would not have been disqualified from driving for 18 months and would not have lost her job.’
‘If Daniel hadn’t been spotted by club security, nobody would have been any the wiser, but he was. The ejection from the club was not something that particularly bothered him, and receiving a police caution seemed like a slap on the wrist, of little consequence. In the morning Daniel returned to his job, and normality resumed, until late Summer when taking the family to the United States for a well-earned summer holiday. Little did he know that one simple caution for a drugs offence could have led to him being refused entry to the US and placed on the next flight home. Daniel hadn’t mentioned the nightclub incident to his family. Until now.’
‘8 A* at GCSE, 3 A* at A Level, a first-class degree in medicine. Life was good for Rachel until she accepted a caution for possessing a tiny amount of cocaine. Rachel will never forget the arrest and police caution, not just because of how frightening and embarrassing the experience was, but because on each medical job application she completes, throughout her entire career, she will have to disclose it.’
How We Can Assist
Regrettably, for us, the stories of Sara, Daniel and Rachel are familiar.
If you are arrested for any offence, it is imperative that you seek legal advice before being interviewed by the police. Minor drug offences are often dealt with by way of police caution, and it is tempting to try and get the process over with as quickly as possible.
In reality, however, despite what you may be told or think, asking for a solicitor not only costs nothing (as you qualify for legal aid) but does not delay your release from custody.
In many instances, it speeds up your release, and also means that we can advise on the best long-term options for you.
We all make mistakes, but often the biggest mistake is not taking legal advice.