The Sentencing Council has reviewed the guidelines for burglary after the existing guidelines resulted in unanticipated increases in sentences.

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If you have been accused of burglary, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We specialise in criminal defence law and can apply our expertise to get the best possible result in your case. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Existing guidelines reviewed

The Sentencing Council has carried out an evaluation of the sentencing guidelines for domestic, non-domestic and aggravated burglary offences. The evaluation arose after it was noted that the existing guidelines – which came into force in 2012 – had contributed to unanticipated increases in sentencing.

The findings of the evaluation have been used to put together new guidelines, which are currently under consultation. This will run until 1st September 2021. In developing the proposed guidelines, the Council considered data from the Crown Court Sentencing Survey, transcripts of judges’ sentencing remarks, and evidence of the reasons for the increases in sentencing severity.

What’s changing?

The higher sentences for more serious offences are expected to be maintained under the proposed guidelines. It is deemed that these sentencing practices are proportionate to the seriousness of the offence. However, a notable change is the introduction of middle categories for both culpability and harm. The Council says this will provide greater flexibility for judges and magistrates in deciding the appropriate sentence.

The main changes for each offence are outlined in greater detail below.

Non-domestic burglary

Under the proposed guidelines, the offence of non-domestic burglary will have:

  • A new medium culpability category will apply if the offender participated in “some degree of planning or organisation”
  • A new medium harm category of “theft of/damage to property causing some degree of loss to the victim (economic, commercial or personal value), and “greater emotional impact on the victim than would normally be expected”
  • The wording around consideration of a community order with an alcohol treatment requirement

Domestic burglary

Under the proposed guidelines, the offence of domestic burglary will have:

  • The same changes as outlined above in non-domestic burglary
  • A new definition of targeting in the high culpability/harm category – will be changed to “targeting a vulnerable victim”

Aggravated burglary

Under the proposed guidelines, the offence of aggravated burglary will:

  • Change the high culpability factor of a ‘weapon present on entry’ to an aggravating factor
  • Have different wording for harm factors to include specifics relating to actual physical and psychological injury
  • Have no mention of community orders with treatment requirements as an alternative to custody. Instead, a link to the imposition guideline is included

London criminal defence solicitors

We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly.

If you have been accused of burglary, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors for a free initial enquiry. We offer free police station representation and act for clients across England and Wales.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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