The Sentencing Council published 12 new and revised sentencing guidelines for adult offenders convicted of motoring offences which came into effect on 1st July 2023.
The new guidelines reflect concerns generally from the public regarding motoring offences. The changes and the new guidelines provide greater and harsher sentencing powers for any motorist who is convicted of a driving offence.
The new guidelines are now in force in respect of the following offences:
- Causing serious injury by dangerous driving
- Causing serious injury by driving whilst disqualified
- Causing serious injury by careless driving (a new offence created in 2022)
- Causing injury by wanton or furious driving
- Driving or attempting to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit; and
- Being in charge of a motor vehicle with a specified drug above the specified limit.
In addition to the new guidelines, the Sentence Council also updated the guidelines for the following offences:
- Causing death by dangerous driving
- Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs
- Causing death by careless driving
- Causing death by driving whilst disqualified
- Causing death by driving whilst unlicensed or uninsured; and
- Dangerous driving
The impact these changes have
The overall effect of the changes increases the culpability (how much someone is to blame) for all driving offences.
The most significant change that is likely to have on an ‘every day’ impact in the Magistrates Court is the new guideline for driving whilst over the limit for drugs. This reflects the risk that drug drivers can pose to other drivers and road users.
Before the new guidelines took effect, there was only ‘guidance’ in respect of motorists who were convicted of a drug driving offence. Such a motorist would normally face a minimum 12 month driving disqualification and a fine. But now any adult who is convicted of drug driving where there is obvious evidence of impairment, and a poor standard of driving could face an immediate custodial sentence of 12 weeks.
It is likely that the changes will increase the number of prison sentences imposed for driving offences.
How can Churchers help?
We ensure that all our Court advocates keep up to date with changes in Sentencing Guidelines, legislation and case law so that we can give the most accurate and up to date advice.
It is now more important than ever to ensure that you obtain advice at the very earliest stage of your case. Please do contact one of our team on 02392 820747.