If you have been found in possession of cannabis, which is a controlled substance under the misuse of drugs acts, a number of possibilities could happen.
If you were found in possession of cannabis after December 2020 and you have never been found in possession of cannabis before, you may be eligible to receive an adult caution in respect of this incident. If you have received the benefit of an adult caution before for possession of drugs you will not have the benefit of it again and will be summonsed or charged to attend court to deal with the case.
The benefit of an adult caution is only applicable for the possession of Cannabis. If you were found in possession of other controlled substances such as cocaine, ketamine or ecstasy you will not be offered an adult caution and will be summonsed or charged to appear before the courts.
It is your first or second time appearing before the courts for possession of cannabis you could be subjected to a conviction and fine. In the case of a third or subsequent offence before the courts for possession of cannabis you could be subjected to a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both.
The penalties for possession of any other controlled substance other than cannabis are a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both. It doesn’t matter if it is your first appearance or a subsequent one.
If it is the first time a person is summonsed to court for possession of drugs they are exposed to the penalties set out under the Misuse of Drugs Acts if they are pleading guilty or found guilty of the offence. That can include a conviction on a persons record with a possible fine or imprisonment depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes as opposed to imposing a conviction on a persons record a District Court Judge may accept a donation to charity to meet the case so that the case either struck out or Section 1.1 of the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 imposed, which is not a conviction on a persons record. However this is never a guarantee and entirely up to the courts discretion. Each case and defendant is dealt with on its own merits and factual background.
If a person were to have a conviction on their record for a drugs related offence this can effect their opportunities in life going forward. It would mean there could be a possibility be difficulties in obtaining visas to travel to America, Canada, Australia and other countries. Such a conviction could also be disclosed to potential employers who required Garda Vetting in their employment process. This could have a negative impact on job prospects.
If a member of An Garda Síochána has formed a reasonable suspicion that a person may be in possession of drugs they can stop and search a person for drugs. They have to outline to the person that they have suspicions and are going to search you under Sec 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.
If you have a query in relation to a potential drugs offence please feel free to contact our office at 01-6790780 or email@example.com to arrange a consultation with our Associate Solicitor Eoghan O Sullivan.