Self-Representation Guide for Drug Possession Offences

You can download the free Legal Aide app on Apple or Android for an interactive step-by-step guide on how to deal with a drug possession offence.

If you're unable to access the app, you can download the PDF version of the guide.

This guide will help you after arrest for personal possession of drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (‘MDA’). This guide will take you through the process step-by-step and explain all possible outcomes as clearly as possible. The aim is to get the best possible result for you, in your personal situation. This might mean getting a cannabis warning instead of a caution, or getting the case sent back to the police for a caution instead of having to go to court.

The guide and app are aimed at people who accept that they are guilty of the offence of possession of a controlled drug and provides them with information on how to navigate the criminal justice system to get the least punitive penalty possible. The majority of the people who are caught in possession of drugs plead guilty to the offence or admit their guilt in order to get an out of court disposal, for example, a cannabis warning or a caution.

If you have been arrested or charged with the offence of possession, but are not guilty of the offence, then you should call us for advice on 020 7324 2989. You can also call us if you need more help, or aren’t sure about anything in the guide.

Whilst the app discusses possible outcomes for possession offences it encourages individuals to ensure that they instruct a legal representative where legal aid is available, for example, at the police station. Information about the stages where free representation is available, including from a duty solicitor at court, is provided for in the guide and app. Always make sure you obtain legal representation at a police station - is it free and independent of the police.

Please note that legal advice here only applies to offences committed in England and Wales.

The app is complemented by simple in-app videos from Release’s lawyers which summarise the various stages of the legal process, ensuring the information is easily accessible to all. For those unable to access the app, the videos are available to stream below.

Drug Possession: Arrest, Legal Advice, and Your Options in a Police Interview

Drug Possession: Getting a Cannabis or Khat Warning, or a Penalty Notice for Disorder

Drug Possession: Getting a Caution or Being Charged for Class B/C Drugs that Aren’t Cannabis/Khat

Drug Possession: Getting a Caution or Being Charged for Class A Drugs

Drug Possession: Going to Court, Representing Yourself, and Sentencing

Drug Possession: Criminal Records and Their Effect on Jobs and Travel