One of the first questions asked when an individual is arrested for possession of drugs is will he/she go to jail. This question is usually posed whilst the person is still incarcerated pending the granting of bail. To answer this one has to differentiate between different stages in the matter.
Consequences : Possession of drugs
Before bail is granted
When a person is arrested for drugs he will be detained in a holding cell and should it happen on a Friday night, chances are that he/she will most probably only get bail on a Saturday or Sunday night. The granting of bail is solely in the discretion of the investigating officer and the police can only grant bail if the Criminal Procedure Act (51 of 1977) authorises them. Therefore: Give your cooperation and be polite.
You should be able to get bail for possession of small quantity of drugs i.e. 1 or 2 ecstasy tablets, 1 gram Coke/Cat/ Dagga. Bail is always dependant on the person having a fixed address, no criminal record for similar offence, having employment and numerous other factors (too voluminous for this article) If you possess drugs in bigger quantities or have previous conviction for drugs/theft etc you will not get bail over the weekend, and probably only once you are in court will the court have a discretion to grant you bail. At your first appearance at Court the prosecutor is also entitled to ask for an adjournment of 7 days at a time in order to enable the state to investigate whether you are indeed a suitable candidate for bail. If could therefore happen that you be detained for 10 days or even longer before bail is granted.
The moment you are granted bail you will remain on bail until such time as you are convicted or when the court revokes your bail.
If you are a first offender and you are convicted or found guilty of possession of a very small quantity of dugs irrespective of the nature of the drugs, i.e. 1 tablet, small amount of dagga, prescription medicine without having a script, chances are you will get a fine ranging between R3 000 and R10 000 as well as a term of imprisonment suspended wholly for a period of 5 years. The moment the quantity of drugs creates the impression or evidence exists which justifies an inference that you were dealing in drugs or you are actually found dealing in drugs, changes are you will go to jail for the offence. This is of course not a hard and fast rule and when it comes to imposing a sentence, the Courts have a wide discretion to impose any sentence, but chances are the more drugs you possess, the bigger your chance of going to jail. If you are a repeat offender, expect no mercy. Chances are you will get a term of imprisonment. If your friends possess drugs in your car whilst going to nightclubs, chances are further that you will be arrested and be detained. You might get bail later on, but you have a very unpleasant experience due to your friend’s conduct. The best advice is not use or sell drugs yourself or hang out with friends who use or sell drugs.
Should you require any of our legal services please don’t hesitate to contact us on 012 664 9400 for more assistance.