Drug Offenders Register
Part 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 came into force in October 2006 and introduced new obligations on those who have been convicted of drug trafficking offences to notify Gardaí of certain information about themselves. This provision is based on the same principle as the Sex Offenders Register and enables the movements of convicted drug dealers to be recorded in a similar fashion. Furthermore, the Register assists the Gardaí in monitoring illegal activity and provides useful intelligence on convicted offenders.
When do I have to notify the Gardaí?
If you are convicted of a drug trafficking offence you are required to notify the Gardaí of certain information about yourself within 7 days. When you receive a term of imprisonment following a drug conviction, your duty to notify the Gardaí doesn’t begin until after you are released from prison. You then have 7 days from the date of release to notify the Gardaí. The Governor of the prison is obliged to notify the Gardaí at least 10 days before your release that you are going to be released.
What information must I give the Gardaí?
When an order is made by a court requiring you to notify Gardaí you are obliged to supply the following information in order to comply with the requirements:
- Your name and if you use another name(s), each of those names
- Your home address
- If you change your name from the one previously given to the Gardaí then you must provide that new name within 7 days of any such change of name
- Any change of your home address
- If you intend to leave the state for a continuous period of 7 days or more then you must notify the Gardaí of your intention and of where they intend to stay while outside the state
- Your date of birth
How long do the requirements to notify the Gardaí last for?
It depends on the length of sentence you receive from the court. The longer the sentence, the longer the requirements last. The following is a guide to the length of time the requirements last:
- 12 years: if you were imprisoned for life
- 7 years: if you were imprisoned more than 10 years (but not imprisonment for life)
- 5 years: if you were imprisoned for more than 5 years (but not more than 10 years)
- 3 years: if you were imprisoned for more than one year (but not more than 5 years)
- 1 year: if your imprisonment is suspended by the court
If you are not given a sentence of imprisonment of one year or more, you are not subject to the notification requirements.
What happens when someone fails to comply with the notification requirements?
Anyone who fails (without reasonable excuse), to comply with the notification requirement is guilty of an offence. The penalty is a fine of up to €4,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both.
Do these notification requirements apply to persons convicted outside the state?
Yes they do. If you are convicted of a drug trafficking offence outside Ireland where that offence would constitute a drug trafficking offence in Ireland, you are subject to the same Garda notification requirements if you subsequently come to live in Ireland. If you fail to notify the Gardaí of your details, then the Gardaí can prosecute you for non-compliance or failure to comply with the requirements. The Gardaí, however, have to produce a document to the court proving the particulars of your conviction abroad.
Offenders under 18
Those under 18 years at time of sentencing are also obliged to notify the Gardaí – but the periods are shorter. They are as follows:
- 6 years: if you were imprisoned for life
- 3.5 years: if you were imprisoned more than 10 years (but not imprisonment for life)
- 2.5 years: if you were imprisoned for more than 5 years (but not more than 10 years)
- 1.5 years: if you were imprisoned for more than one year (but not more than 5 years)
- Six months: if your imprisonment is suspended by the court
Can I apply to have the notification requirements cancelled?
Anyone subject to the requirements for a period of 12 years (or 6 years in the case of someone under 18 years of age) can apply to the court for an order discharging them from having to notify the Gardaí on the grounds that the interests of the common good is not being served by you being obliged to continue to notify. The application can be made once 8 years (or 4 years in the case of someone under 18 years of age) has passed.
You should apply to the court which imposed the prison sentence originally. The application may be made by you or by a solicitor on your behalf. Court staff will assist in making the application if you have any difficulties. There is no charge for an application.
Anyone applying to the court is allowed to bring forward any witness to the court who will give evidence on their behalf or in regard to their character, for example, a doctor who had treated you or the director of a drugs rehabilitation programme which you attended.
If you intend to apply to the court for a discharge of the requirements to report to the Gardaí, you must notify the Superintendent of the local Garda station of your intention to make an application to the court.
Anyone subject to requirements for a period of 7 years or less (or 3½ years in the case of someone under 18 years of age) cannot apply to have the requirements cancelled.