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Aggravated vehicle taking and other motoring offences: Proposed sentencing guidelines published

Proposed sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of motoring offences committed while driving vehicles without the owner’s consent, were published for consultation by the independent Sentencing Council today.

The draft guidelines cover four aggravated vehicle taking offences, which would apply when offenders have driven dangerously, or caused deathinjury or damage to property while, for example, driving a stolen vehicle, or a vehicle driven without the owner’s authority.

There are currently sentencing guidelines for magistrates’ courts for aggravated vehicle taking offences involving dangerous driving, accident causing injury, and causing damage to vehicle/property published in 2008.

The proposed guidelines which, when in force, will apply to adult offenders in England and Wales, will replace the existing guidelines and will, for the first time, include sentence levels for the Crown Court.

Sentencing Council member, His Honour Judge Simon Drew KC, said:

“Drivers who commit motoring offences that result in death, injury or damage to property in vehicles they do not have permission to drive, can cause anguish and inconvenience both to the vehicle owner and to victims affected by their driving.

“Victims can suffer serious consequences including death or life-changing injuries or serious damage to property including to the vehicles that were used without permission. The guidelines we are proposing today will allow courts to take a consistent approach to sentencing these offences.”

The Council is also proposing a new guideline for vehicle registration fraud offences which include forging, altering, or fraudulently using vehicle number plates, and a new overarching guideline for driver disqualification which includes principles to follow when imposing a disqualification.  The proposed guidelines will complete the Sentencing Council’s package of new and revised motoring offence guidelines, following the publication in 2023 of guidelines for causing death by dangerous driving and other offences.

The Council is seeking views on the draft guideline from judges, magistrates and organisations or members of the public with an interest in this area. The consultation runs from 21 February 2024 to 22 May 2024.

Notes to editors

  1. The proposed guidelines are :
  1. Aggravated vehicle taking is an offence under section 12A of the Theft Act 1968. The underlying act of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent can be aggravated in four different ways:
  • where the vehicle is driven dangerously
  • where injury is caused
  • where property (other than the vehicle) is damaged)
  • where the vehicle is damaged.
  1. In general, the offence has a maximum of two years’ custody and is triable either way (i.e. in either the magistrates courts or the Crown Court). Where a death has resulted, the maximum penalty is 14 years’ custody. Where the value of property or vehicle damage does not exceed £5,000 the offence is deemed summary-only with a maximum penalty of six months’ custody.
  2. The Sentencing Guidelines Council (the predecessor body to the Sentencing Council) published two guidelines for use in the magistrates’ courts in 2008: one covers aggravated vehicle taking involving injury and dangerous driving, and the other covers aggravated vehicle taking involving vehicle and property damage. These will be replaced by the new proposed guidelines.
  3. Vehicle registration fraud is an offence under section 44 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. This was amended by the Finance Act 2014 to remove vehicle licence fraud from scope of the offence, as part of the abolition of tax discs. The Sentencing Guidelines Council produced a guideline for Vehicle Licence/Registration Fraud in 2008, which the proposed guideline will replace. The offence is triable either way with a maximum penalty of two years’ custody.
  4. Sentencing guidelines must be followed, unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so in all the circumstances of a particular case.
  5. The Sentencing Council was established by Parliament to be an independent body, but accountable to Parliament for its work which is scrutinised by the Justice Select Committee.
  6. Justice Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the Sentencing Council’s effectiveness and efficiency, for its use of public funds and for protecting its independence.
  7. Judicial Council members are appointed by the Lady Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor. Non-judicial council members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lady Chief Justice.
Channel website: https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/

Original article link: https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/news/item/aggravated-vehicle-taking-and-other-motoring-offences-proposed-sentencing-guidelines-published/

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