The Courts have guidelines which are used for sentencing motor offences. They help Judges and Magistrates ensure national parity. Somebody being sentenced at a court in Devon will receive a similar sentence to somebody being sentenced for the same crime in Yorkshire. Courts are infrequently persuaded from stepping outside of these guidelines but in certain cases they can be.
Recently Magistrates in North Staffordshire did just that. They imposed a financial penalty rather than the medium level Community Order that the guidelines recommend. The Defendant was the cause of a five car collision whilst driving under the influence of alcohol. He was taken to hospital after the collision which resulted in a two hour delay until the police breathalysed him. Even then he was still nearly 2 ½ times the legal limit.
Due to the high reading, the guidelines make it clear that the appropriate starting point for sentence should be a medium level Community Order. However, the Magistrates said they were persuaded by the Defendant’s Advocate that a lesser sentence of a financial penalty could be imposed taking into consideration his personal mitigation and his current circumstances.
This case suggests that, with the experienced representation and carefully prepared submissions, the Court may flex away from the guidelines.
If you would like any advice on this or on representation in Court, or any other queries regarding motor offences, then please contact our Crime Solicitor Kate Preston on 01782 205000 or firstname.lastname@example.org