We all hear the news about “County lines” drug supply networks, about children and young people being forced to supply drugs by criminal gangs.
It is real, and it is happening in our area.
If your child is arrested then the first thing to do as ask for free and independent legal advice when being interviewed by the police.
If threats have been made that force a person to become involved in supplying drugs, if those threats are serious and are genuinely believed, that may amount to a defence known as duress. If not a full defence, then it may amount to significant mitigation to explain how a child has become involved through exploitation.
A solicitor will be able to assess if the circumstances amount to a defence, or mitigation, and advise whether or not to advance that in the police interview. This might mean that no charges are brought so it is important to get advice at this early stage.
If charges are brought then we will assess the evidence, hear your side of the story, and advise whether there is a defence to the charges.
We have access to experienced forensic experts who can consider fingerprint or DNA evidence, the purity of the drugs, cell site and phone evidence, all of which may be relevant to any defence.
We have access to psychological and psychiatric experts who may be asked to assess your child’s vulnerabilities which may have been exploited by the criminal gangs.
Our team have experience dealing with vulnerable children and young people who may have been exploited and are available to advise you on this and other areas of criminal law, usually free of charge if you are eligible for legal aid.
We will listen sympathetically and provide you with the best legal advice.