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Sentencing Guidelines Revisions – How the new guidelines will benefit motoring offenders

February 24, 2017 by in category News with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > Sentencing Guidelines Revisions – How the new guidelines will benefit motoring offenders
sentencing guidelines

When we get calls about motoring offences, one of the first things people want to know is what penalty they can receive for the offence they have allegedly committed. When it comes to sentencing, the courts have a specific set of guidelines that they are supposed to follow. It is possible for the Court to deviate from these guidelines, however for the most part the fine, points, or disqualification will fall within a bracket of the Magistrates’ Sentencing Guidelines.

These guidelines, as of April 2017, are due to be revised. When you think “revision” it’s usually with a negative connotation. However, with the revisions proposed for April of this year, offending motorists should rejoice! We are expecting to see a change for the higher bracket of speed offenders. Furthermore we will see the inclusion of numerous factors which will indicate lower culpability for offenders of various offences such as drunk driving, drunk in charge, fail to provide, and more.

The main notable additions to factors indicating lower culpability offences are:

  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Remorse
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct
  • Genuine fear of retribution
  • Age and/or lack of maturity where it affects the responsibility of the offender
  • Mental disorder or learning disability
  • Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives

Lower Culpability Offences:

Previously in mitigation, there were mainly numerous factors which indicated higher culpability such as:

  • LGV, HGV, PSV Drivers
  • High likelihood of driving
  • Driving for hire or reward
  • Obvious state of intoxication
  • Evidence of unacceptable driving
  • Involved in an accident

And very few factors which would indicate lower culpability for defendants. This almost ensured a greater punishment for offenders, because there were more odds of a higher culpability factor than a lower one. With these guideline  revisions, many offenders will likely find they have lower culpability indicating factors that the court are guided to take into account.

Speeding

As of the 24th of April, there will be a few notable changes to the sentencing guidelines when it comes to speeding. The first will be for the highest speeding ranges, the guilty party will be faced with a Band C (150% of weekly net wages) instead of a Band B fine (100% of net weekly wages).

With the revisions, the maximum speed guideline will change from 110, to a 101 and above with no top limit of speed mentioned. This could prove beneficial for speed offenders as they may well face a lesser driving disqualification now than they would have prior to the guideline change as often motorists were classed as being off the scale and therefore the length of ban imposed could be off the scale also! Bear in mind there is no maximum length of ban that can be imposed by Magistrates.

Ultimately whether or not the revisions will be of benefit to drivers is yet to be seen, but from our perspective, it looks like they will be welcome news to motorists who find themselves at the end of a motoring prosecution!

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