Legal Aid Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act - Fines to increase from 12 March 2015

Most people will never appear in a Magistrate’s Court to face a custodial sentence or probation order. Fines are however regularly imposed in motoring cases and prosecutions, for instance, brought by the Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency and Trading Standards. Milton Keynes crime and regulatory solicitor Mike Hayward explains.

Fines are based on the level of offence seriousness and are viewed as an effective deterrent and punishment. The level of fine for offences are set by reference to five statutory levels; £200, £500, £1,000, £2,500 and £5,000 (levels 1 to 5).

From the 12th March, the level 5 maximum of £5000 is to be become unlimited when the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 takes effect. It will impact on the full range of level 5 offences including; careless driving, driving with excess alcohol, failing to provide a specimen, certain breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and many others.

The Courts will continue to apply their sentencing guidelines taking into account aggravating and mitigating circumstances, but with the introduction of unlimited fines, it has never been more important to assess any summons, requisition or charge that you or your business face.

Please contact Mike Hayward for further information.