The Sentencing Council has published revised sentencing guidelines for domestic, non-domestic and aggravated burglary offences in England and Wales. Those sentenced after 1 July 2022 will be subject to the new guidance.

Solicitors – England and Wales

If you need a criminal defence solicitor, please contact us – we are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We specialise in criminal defence law and can represent you throughout proceedings.

What’s changing?

Following a consultation and testing with judge and magistrates, the Sentencing Council has decided to revise the sentencing guidelines for certain burglary offences. There are now middle categories for both culpability and harm factors, giving sentencers greater flexibility when deciding on a sentence. The motivation behind this is to ensure that the harm factors fully reflect the distress suffered by burglary victims.

Will penalties be more severe?

The higher sentences are expected to be maintained for the most serious burglary offences, so it is unlikely that the penalties will be more severe. In fact, it is estimated that most of the changes in the guidelines will not impact on prison or probation resources. In other words, it will not result in more offenders being sent to prison, or serving longer jail sentences.

One possible impact, however, is the greater use of community orders for domestic burglary. This is because the guidelines now make reference to offenders with a dependency on, or propensity to misuse, alcohol. Sentencers may decide that if addiction is the root cause of the offending behaviour, then a community order may be the preferred penalty.

Steps have also been taken to ensure that ‘double counting’ does not happen. This is when the same harm or culpability factors are taken into account by the sentencer twice, rather than once. For example, the factor of ‘violence used or threatened against the victim, particularly involving a weapon’ has been amended to remove explicit reference to a weapon.

Speak to our criminal defence lawyers

As specialist defence lawyers, we can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Sometimes it is better to enter an early guilty plea, as this entitles you to a reduced sentence. Otherwise, we will work hard to prove your innocence, gathering the evidence and presenting your case in court. If a guilty verdict is returned, we will explain to the court the various mitigating circumstances that should persuade them to show leniency.

Sentencing guidelines are complicated, and there are a number of factors sentencers take into account when deciding a penalty. We can explain what kind of sentence you might face, and will apply our expertise to minimise the consequences as best as possible.

If you need a criminal defence solicitor, 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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