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3rd of December Sexual and Violence Offence Law Changes

From the 3rd of December 2012 anyone found guilty of a second offence of a very serious or violent crime will face a mandatory life sentence. In addition to this, a new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving (which previously carried a maximum five year custodial sentence) came into effect and will carry a mandatory life sentence for those found guilty of the offence.

Alongside this, for anyone who uses a knife or offensive weapon to threaten and endanger others will face a compulsory custodial sentence.

A brand new scheme dubbed as ‘the two strike rule’ works in the following way – if a defendant is tried for a serious sexual or violent offence a judge must consider firstly whether the offence is going to attract a sentence of ten years or more. If it is, and the defendant has previously received a sentence of ten years or more for any other serious sexual or violent offence, then the judge must pass a sentence of life imprisonment, unless there are clear reasons to why it would be unjust to do so.

For those defendants who do not fall within the life sentence provisions but who have previously committed serious offences and are considered likely to pose a risk of harm to the public, will find themselves liable to an extended sentence, meaning they will have to wait until they are two thirds of the way through their sentence until they are eligible for parole, this is instead of halfway through, and they will have an extended period of licence added to their sentence.

There is also a new offence to target those who use a bladed or pointed instrument or offensive weapon in a public place or school to threaten or cause a risk of serious physical harm to another are coming into place also. These offences will now be subject to a maximum of 4 years imprisonment, and will also carry a minimum six month prison sentence for adults, for 16-17 years olds there will be a four month detention and training order.

For more information regarding the new sentencing guidelines please feel free to contact Gray and Co Solicitors using the online contact form or telephone number 01244 344299.

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