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Young People and Motoring Offences

October 29, 2019 by in category News with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > Young People and Motoring Offences

Most parents, guardians or carers would always want the best for their children and young people and to avoid any involvement with the criminal justice system…unless of course they wanted to become a lawyer!

Unfortunately, many young people do find themselves on the wrong side of the law and although the police will usually deal with the majority of minor motoring offences without the need to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service, a young motorist could still find themselves facing court proceedings.

17 years old or below

Depending upon the seriousness of the offence, a person up to the age of 17 will usually be dealt within the Magistrates’ Youth Court. The Court will consider the young person’s age on the first date of their Court appearance and if he or she is 17 on this date, their case will be heard in the Youth Court (this court is not as formal as an adult court and it is not open to the public).

A young person is not treated the same as an adult and it is important not to “criminalise” the young person without necessity and at a young age, particularly in relation to minor offences. The aim of the Court is to prevent the youth re-offending, work on rehabilitation and making amends.

If, however, the youth is facing penalty points or receiving a disqualification, this would be dealt with in the same way as an adult.

When considering the correct sentence to impose for the relevant offence, the Court will have regard to factors such as age, background, offending history, seriousness of the offence, accepting responsibility and admitting the offence, this is important as any decision made by the court could have serious consequences which can impact upon the future, career and welfare of the youth.

Sentencing Powers

The Court can impose the following sentences;

Absolute or conditional discharge

If the matter does not warrant any kind of punishment then the Court can impose an absolute discharge which means nothing will happen and that will be the end of the matter.

If the Court considers a conditional discharge is more appropriate then one will be imposed. A conditional discharge means the youth will not be sentenced straight away but on the ‘condition’ that he or she does not appear before the Court again within a certain period of time for any new offence. If they do reoffend then they could be sentenced for any new offence as well as the original offence for which they received the conditional discharge.

Financial penalty

For under 18’s a financial penalty will be the responsibility of the parent or guardian and will be commensurate on their financial circumstances and their ability to pay.

Referral order

A referral order will not necessarily result in a criminal conviction, however the youth must keep to all appointments with the Youth Offending Team (YOT), he or she must not breach their contract with YOT for its duration, usually between 3 to 12 months. The aim of the referral order is to address the offender’s behaviour and put things right.

Youth rehabilitation order

This is a community based punishment which can include various requirements, such as unpaid work or curfew.

Detention and training order (custodial)

This type of sentence is reserved for the more serious of offences and can last up to two years.

A youth who has no previous convictions and pleads guilty straight away can only either be sentenced to a referral order or a detention and training order, there is no in-between.

Therefore, if it is the first motoring offence(s) and it does not warrant a detention and training order, a referral order is likely to be imposed.

Parents’ Enquiries Welcomed

Many of our cases start with a worried parent reaching out to us on their child’s behalf. It is natural for a parent to want to help and be a part of the legal strategy for their child, as most parents instinctively just want what’s best for them. When we receive calls from concerned parents we are happy to liaise with them on behalf of the child (with confidentiality issues covered of course) and will continue to liaise with the entire family if instructed to do so by the client.

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