Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs/ Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs or having failed either to provide a specimen for analysis or to permit analysis of a blood sample

Road Traffic Act 1988, s.3A

Triable on indictment only
Maximum: life imprisonment for offences committed after 28 June 2022; otherwise 14 years’ custody
Offence range: 26 weeks – 18 years’ custody

This is a specified offence for the purposes of sections 266 and 279 (extended sentence for certain violent, sexual or terrorism offences) of the Sentencing Code

Obligatory disqualification: minimum 5 years with compulsory extended re-test for offences committed after 28 June 2022; otherwise 2 years with compulsory extended re-test

(Minimum 6 years disqualification if the offender has been convicted of this same offence in the 10 years preceding commission of the present offence for offences committed after 28 June 2022; otherwise 3 years)

User guide for this offence


Guideline users should be aware that the Equal Treatment Bench Book covers important aspects of fair treatment and disparity of outcomes for different groups in the criminal justice system. It provides guidance which sentencers are encouraged to take into account wherever applicable, to ensure that there is fairness for all involved in court proceedings.

Applicability

In accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, the Sentencing Council issues this definitive guideline. It applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after the effective date of this guideline, regardless of the date of the offence.*

Section 59(1) of the Sentencing Code provides that:

“Every court –

  1. must, in sentencing an offender, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the offender’s case, and
  2. must, in exercising any other function relating to the sentencing of offenders, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the exercise of the function,

unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.”

This guideline applies only to offenders aged 18 and older. General principles to be considered in the sentencing of children and young people are in the Sentencing Council definitive guideline, Overarching Principles – Sentencing Children and Young People.

*The maximum sentence that applies to an offence is the maximum that applied at the date of the offence.

Step 1 – Determining the offence category 

Culbability

There are two aspects to assessing culpability for this offence.

1) The court should first determine the standard of driving with reference to the factors below. Where there are characteristics present that fall under different levels of culpability, the court should balance these characteristics to reach a fair assessment of the offender’s culpability.

 

2) Factors relevant to the presence of alcohol or drugs or a failure to provide a sample for analysis should then be considered at step two to identify the appropriate offence category and starting point of sentence in accordance with the sentencing table.

A

  • Standard of driving was just below threshold for dangerous driving and/or includes extreme example of a culpability B factor

B

  • Unsafe manoeuvre or positioning
  • Engaging in a brief but avoidable distraction
  • Driving at a speed that is inappropriate for the prevailing road or weather conditions
  • Driving vehicle which is unsafe or where driver’s visibility or controls are obstructed
  • Driving impaired as a result of a known medical condition and/or in disregard of advice relating to the effects of medical condition or medication (where the medication does not form a basis of the offence)
  • Driving when deprived of adequate sleep or rest
  • The offender’s culpability falls between the factors as described in culpability A and C

 

C

  • Standard of driving was just over threshold for careless driving
  • Momentary lapse of concentration

Harm

For all cases the harm caused will inevitably be of the utmost seriousness. The loss of life is taken into account in the sentencing levels at step two.

Step 2 – Starting point and category range

The starting points and category ranges below relate to a single offence resulting in a single death. Where more than one death is caused and they are charged in separate counts, or where another offence or offences arising out of the same incident or facts is charged, concurrent sentences reflecting the overall criminality will be appropriate. 

Where more than one death is caused but they are all charged in a single count, it will be appropriate to make an upwards adjustment from the starting point within the relevant category range before consideration of other aggravating features and mitigation. The court may conclude that it would be contrary to the interests of justice for the final sentence to be limited to the offence range for a single offence.  See the Totality guideline and step six of this guideline.

The legal limit of alcohol is 35µg breath/80mg in blood/107mg in urine Culpability A Culpability B Culpability C
       

71µg/163mg/216mg or above of alcohol

OR

Deliberate refusal to provide specimen for analysis

OR

Evidence of substantial impairment

OR

Multiple drugs or combination of drugs and alcohol

Starting point
12 years’ custody

Starting point
9 years’ custody

Starting point
6 years’ custody

Category range
8 – 18 years’ custody

Category range
6 – 12 years’ custody

Category range
5 – 10 years’ custody

51- 70 µg/117-162mg/156-215mg of alcohol

OR

Any quantity of a single drug detected above the legal limit

Starting point
9 years’ custody

Starting point
6 years’ custody

Starting point
4 years’ custody

Category range
6 – 12 years’ custody

Category range
4 – 9 years’ custody

Category range
3 – 7 years’ custody

36-50 µg/81-116mg/108-155mg of alcohol

OR

A single drug detected below the legal limit

Starting point
6 years’ custody

Starting point
3 years’ custody

Starting point
1 year 6 months’ custody

Category range
4 – 9 years’ custody

Category range
2 – 5 years’ custody

Category range
26 weeks – 4 years’ custody

Custodial sentences

Sentencing flowcharts are available at Imposition of Community and Custodial Sentences definitive guideline.


The approach to the imposition of a custodial sentence should be as follows:

1) Has the custody threshold been passed?

  • A custodial sentence must not be imposed unless the offence or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it was so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community sentence can be justified for the offence.
  • There is no general definition of where the custody threshold lies. The circumstances of the individual offence and the factors assessed by offence-specific guidelines will determine whether an offence is so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community sentence can be justified. Where no offence specific guideline is available to determine seriousness, the harm caused by the offence, the culpability of the offender and any previous convictions will be relevant to the assessment.
  • The clear intention of the threshold test is to reserve prison as a punishment for the most serious offences.

2) Is it unavoidable that a sentence of imprisonment be imposed?

  • Passing the custody threshold does not mean that a custodial sentence should be deemed inevitable. Custody should not be imposed where a community order could provide sufficient restriction on an offender’s liberty (by way of punishment) while addressing the rehabilitation of the offender to prevent future crime.
  • For offenders on the cusp of custody, imprisonment should not be imposed where there would be an impact on dependants which would make a custodial sentence disproportionate to achieving the aims of sentencing.

3) What is the shortest term commensurate with the seriousness of the offence?

  • In considering this the court must NOT consider any licence or post sentence supervision requirements which may subsequently be imposed upon the offender’s release.

4) Can the sentence be suspended?

  • A suspended sentence MUST NOT be imposed as a more severe form of community order. A suspended sentence is a custodial sentence. Sentencers should be clear that they would impose an immediate custodial sentence if the power to suspend were not available. If not, a non-custodial sentence should be imposed.

The following factors should be weighed in considering whether it is possible to suspend the sentence:

Factors indicating that it would not be appropriate to suspend a custodial sentence

Factors indicating that it may be appropriate to suspend a custodial sentence

Offender presents a risk/danger to the public

Realistic prospect of rehabilitation

Appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody

Strong personal mitigation

History of poor compliance with court orders

Immediate custody will result in significant harmful impact upon others

The imposition of a custodial sentence is both punishment and a deterrent. To ensure that the overall terms of the suspended sentence are commensurate with offence seriousness, care must be taken to ensure requirements imposed are not excessive. A court wishing to impose onerous or intensive requirements should reconsider whether a community sentence might be more appropriate.

Pre-sentence report

Whenever the court reaches the provisional view that:

  • the custody threshold has been passed; and, if so
  • the length of imprisonment which represents the shortest term commensurate with the seriousness of the offence;

the court should obtain a pre-sentence report, whether verbal or written, unless the court considers a report to be unnecessary. Ideally a pre-sentence report should be completed on the same day to avoid adjourning the case.

Magistrates: Consult your legal adviser before deciding to sentence to custody without a pre-sentence report.

Suspended Sentences: General Guidance

i) The guidance regarding pre-sentence reports applies if suspending custody.

ii) If the court imposes a term of imprisonment of between 14 days and 2 years (subject to magistrates’ courts sentencing powers), it may suspend the sentence for between 6 months and 2 years (the ‘operational period’). The time for which a sentence is suspended should reflect the length of the sentence; up to 12 months might normally be appropriate for a suspended sentence of up to 6 months.

iii) Where the court imposes two or more sentences to be served consecutively, the court may suspend the sentence where the aggregate of the terms is between 14 days and 2 years (subject to magistrates’ courts sentencing powers).

iv) When the court suspends a sentence, it may impose one or more requirements for the offender to undertake in the community. The requirements are identical to those available for community orders, see the guideline on Imposition of Community and Custodial Sentences.

v) A custodial sentence that is suspended should be for the same term that would have applied if the sentence was to be served immediately.

A person who has been disqualified where the level of alcohol was a least 87.5 μg in breath, 200 mg in blood or 267.5 in urine OR has been disqualified for failure to provide a specimen OR has been disqualified on two or more occasions within any period of 10 years for driving with excess alcohol or being unfit to drive is classed as a high risk offender. If the offender qualifies as a high risk offender they must satisfy the DVLA that they are medically fit to drive again. They will need to complete, and pay for, a medical assessment including blood tests.

See Step 7 for more information on driving disqualifications.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of additional elements providing the context of the offence and factors relating to the offender.  Identify whether a combination of these or other relevant factors should result in any upward or downward adjustment from the sentence arrived at so far.

Factors increasing seriousness

Statutory aggravating factors:

  • Previous convictions,

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm or those inherent in the offence

    Guidance on the use of previous convictions

    The following guidance should be considered when seeking to determine the degree to which previous convictions should aggravate sentence:

    Section 65 of the Sentencing Code states that:

    (1) This section applies where a court is considering the seriousness of an offence (“the current offence”) committed by an offender who has one or more relevant previous convictions.

    (2) The court must treat as an aggravating factor each relevant previous conviction that it considers can reasonably be so treated, having regard in particular to— (a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence, and (b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction.

    (3) Where the court treats a relevant previous conviction as an aggravating factor under subsection (2) it must state in open court that the offence is so aggravated.

    1. Previous convictions are considered at step two in the Council’s offence-specific guidelines.
    2. The primary significance of previous convictions (including convictions in other jurisdictions) is the extent to which they indicate trends in offending behaviour and possibly the offender’s response to earlier sentences.
    3. Previous convictions are normally of relevance to the current offence when they are of a similar type.
    4. Previous convictions of a type different from the current offence may be of relevance where they are an indication of persistent offending or escalation and/or a failure to comply with previous court orders.
    5. Numerous and frequent previous convictions might indicate an underlying problem (for example, an addiction) that could be addressed more effectively in the community and will not necessarily indicate that a custodial sentence is necessary.
    6. If the offender received a non-custodial disposal for the previous offence, a court should not necessarily move to a custodial sentence for the fresh offence.
    7. In cases involving significant persistent offending, the community and custody thresholds may be crossed even though the current offence normally warrants a lesser sentence. If a custodial sentence is imposed it should be proportionate and kept to the necessary minimum.
    8. The aggravating effect of relevant previous convictions reduces with the passage of time; older convictions are of less relevance to the offender’s culpability for the current offence and less likely to be predictive of future offending.
    9. Where the previous offence is particularly old it will normally have little relevance for the current sentencing exercise.
    10. The court should consider the time gap since the previous conviction and the reason for it. Where there has been a significant gap between previous and current convictions or a reduction in the frequency of offending this may indicate that the offender has made attempts to desist from offending in which case the aggravating effect of the previous offending will diminish.
    11. Where the current offence is significantly less serious than the previous conviction (suggesting a decline in the gravity of offending), the previous conviction may carry less weight.
    12. When considering the totality of previous offending a court should take a rounded view of the previous crimes and not simply aggregate the individual offences.
    13. Where information is available on the context of previous offending this may assist the court in assessing the relevance of that prior offending to the current offence
    having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
  • Offence committed whilst on bail

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm or those inherent in the offence

    Section 64 of the Sentencing Code states:

    In considering the seriousness of any offence committed while the offender was on bail, the court must - (a) treat the fact that it was committed in those circumstances as an aggravating factor and (b) state in open court that the offence is so aggravated.  

Other aggravating factors:

  • Victim was a vulnerable road user, including pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists etc
  • Serious injury to one or more victims, in addition to the death(s) (see step 6 on totality when sentencing for more than one offence)
  • Disregarding warnings of others
  • Driving for commercial purposes
  • Driving a goods vehicle, PSV etc

    For the purposes of this guideline:

    - “goods vehicle”  means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of goods, or a trailer so constructed or adapted and includes both light and heavy goods vehicles.

    - “public service vehicle” means a motor vehicle which—

    (a)  being a vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers, is used for carrying passengers for hire or reward; or

    (b)  being a vehicle not so adapted, is used for carrying passengers for hire or reward at separate fares in the course of a business of carrying passengers.

  • Other driving offences committed at the same time as the careless driving
  • Blame wrongly placed on others

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm or those inherent in the offence

    • Where the investigation has been hindered and/or other(s) have suffered as a result of being wrongly blamed by the offender, this will make the offence more serious.
    • This factor will not be engaged where an offender has simply exercised his or her right not to assist the investigation or accept responsibility for the offending.

    When sentencing young adult offenders (typically aged 18-25), consideration should also be given to the guidance on the mitigating factor relating to age and lack of maturity when considering the significance of such conduct.

  • Failed to stop and/or obstructed or hindered attempts to assist at the scene
  • Passengers in the offender’s vehicle, including children
  • Vehicle poorly maintained
  • Offence committed on licence or while subject to court order(s)

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm or those inherent in the offence

    • An offender who is subject to licence or post sentence supervision is under a particular obligation to desist from further offending.
    • The extent to which the offender has complied with the conditions of a licence or order (including the time that has elapsed since its commencement) will be a relevant consideration.
    • Where the offender is dealt with separately for a breach of a licence or order regard should be had to totality.
    • Care should be taken to avoid double counting matters taken into account when considering previous convictions.

    When sentencing young adult offenders (typically aged 18-25), consideration should also be given to the guidance on the mitigating factor relating to age and/or lack of maturity when considering the significance of this factor.

Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation

  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm

    • First time offenders usually represent a lower risk of reoffending. Reoffending rates for first offenders are significantly lower than rates for repeat offenders. In addition, first offenders are normally regarded as less blameworthy than offenders who have committed the same crime several times already. For these reasons first offenders receive a mitigated sentence.
    • Where there are previous offences but these are old and /or are for offending of a different nature, the sentence will normally be reduced to reflect that the new offence is not part of a pattern of offending and there is therefore a lower likelihood of reoffending.
    • When assessing whether a previous conviction is ‘recent’ the court should consider the time gap since the previous conviction and the reason for it. 
    • Previous convictions are likely to be ‘relevant’ when they share characteristics with the current offence (examples of such characteristics include, but are not limited to: dishonesty, violence, abuse of position or trust, use or possession of weapons, disobedience of court orders).  In general the more serious the previous offending the longer it will retain relevance.
  • Good driving record
  • Alcohol or drugs consumed unwittingly
  • Actions of the victim or a third party contributed significantly to collision or death
  • Offence due to inexperience rather than irresponsibility (where offender qualified to drive)
  • Genuine emergency
  • Efforts made to assist or seek assistance for victim(s)
  • Remorse

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm

    The court will need to be satisfied that the offender is genuinely remorseful for the offending behaviour in order to reduce the sentence (separate from any guilty plea reduction).

    Lack of remorse should never be treated as an aggravating factor.

    Remorse can present itself in many different ways. A simple assertion of the fact may be insufficient, and the offender’s demeanour in court could be misleading, due to nervousness, a lack of understanding of the system, a belief that they have been or will be discriminated against, peer pressure to behave in a certain way because of others present, a lack of maturity etc. If a PSR has been prepared it may provide valuable assistance in this regard.

     

  • The victim was a close friend or relative
  • Serious medical condition requiring urgent, intensive or long-term treatment

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm or those inherent in the offence

    • The court can take account of physical disability or a serious medical condition by way of mitigation as a reason for reducing the length of the sentence, either on the ground of the greater impact which imprisonment will have on the offender, or as a matter of generally expressed mercy in the individual circumstances of the case.
    • However, such a condition, even when it is difficult to treat in prison, will not automatically entitle the offender to a lesser sentence than would otherwise be appropriate.
    • There will always be a need to balance issues personal to an offender against the gravity of the offending (including the harm done to victims), and the public interest in imposing appropriate punishment for serious offending.
    • A terminal prognosis is not in itself a reason to reduce the sentence even further. The court must impose a sentence that properly meets the aims of sentencing even if it will carry the clear prospect that the offender will die in custody. The prospect of death in the near future will be a matter considered by the prison authorities and the Secretary of State under the early release on compassionate grounds procedure (ERCG).
    • But, an offender’s knowledge that he will likely face the prospect of death in prison, subject only to the ERCG provisions, is a factor that can be considered by the sentencing judge when determining the sentence that it would be just to impose.
  • Age and/or lack of maturity

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm

    Age and/or lack of maturity can affect:

    • the offender’s responsibility for the offence and
    • the effect of the sentence on the offender.

    Either or both of these considerations may justify a reduction in the sentence.

    The emotional and developmental age of an offender is of at least equal importance to their chronological age (if not greater). 

    In particular young adults (typically aged 18-25) are still developing neurologically and consequently may be less able to:

    • evaluate the consequences of their actions
    • limit impulsivity
    • limit risk taking

    Young adults are likely to be susceptible to peer pressure and are more likely to take risks or behave impulsively when in company with their peers.

    Immaturity can also result from atypical brain development. Environment plays a role in neurological development and factors such as adverse childhood experiences including deprivation and/or abuse may affect development.

    An immature offender may find it particularly difficult to cope with custody and therefore may be more susceptible to self-harm in custody.

    An immature offender may find it particularly difficult to cope with the requirements of a community order without appropriate support.

    There is a greater capacity for change in immature offenders and they may be receptive to opportunities to address their offending behaviour and change their conduct.

    Many young people who offend either stop committing crime, or begin a process of stopping, in their late teens and early twenties.  Therefore a young adult’s previous convictions may not be indicative of a tendency for further offending.

    Where the offender is a care leaver the court should enquire as to any effect a sentence may have on the offender’s ability to make use of support from the local authority. (Young adult care leavers are entitled to time limited support. Leaving care services may change at the age of 21 and cease at the age of 25, unless the young adult is in education at that point). See also the Sentencing Children and Young People Guideline (paragraphs 1.16 and 1.17).

    Where an offender has turned 18 between the commission of the offence and conviction the court should take as its starting point the sentence likely to have been imposed on the date at which the offence was committed, but applying the purposes of sentencing adult offenders. See also the Sentencing Children and Young People Guideline (paragraphs 6.1 to 6.3).

    When considering a custodial or community sentence for a young adult the Probation Service should address these issues in a PSR.

  • Mental disorder or learning disability

    Effective from: 01 October 2020

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm or those inherent in the offence

    Refer to the Sentencing offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders, or neurological impairments guideline.

    Note in particular paragraph 5 for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic offenders.

  • Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives

    Effective from: 01 October 2019

    Care should be taken to avoid double counting factors including those already taken into account in assessing culpability or harm

    This factor is particularly relevant where an offender is on the cusp of custody or where the suitability of a community order is being considered.  See also the Imposition of community and custodial sentences guideline.

    For offenders on the cusp of custody, imprisonment should not be imposed where there would be an impact on dependants which would make a custodial sentence disproportionate to achieving the aims of sentencing.

    Where custody is unavoidable consideration of the impact on dependants may be relevant to the length of the sentence imposed and whether the sentence can be suspended.

    For more serious offences where a substantial period of custody is appropriate, this factor will carry less weight.

    ­When imposing a community sentence on an offender with primary caring responsibilities the effect on dependants must be considered in determining suitable requirements.

    In addition when sentencing an offender who is pregnant relevant considerations may include:

    • any effect of the sentence on the health of the offender and
    • any effect of the sentence on the unborn child

    The court should ensure that it has all relevant information about dependent children before deciding on sentence.

    When an immediate custodial sentence is necessary, the court must consider whether proper arrangements have been made for the care of any dependent children and if necessary consider adjourning sentence for this to be done.

    When considering a community or custodial sentence for an offender who has, or may have, caring responsibilities the court should ask the Probation Service to address these issues in a PSR.

    Useful information can be found in the Equal Treatment Bench Book (see in particular Chapter 6 paragraphs 131 to 137)

Step 3 – Consider any factors which indicate a reduction for assistance to the prosecution

The court should take into account section 74 of the Sentencing Code (reduction in sentence for assistance to prosecution) and any other rule of law by virtue of which an offender may receive a discounted sentence in consequence of assistance given (or offered) to the prosecutor or investigator.

Step 4 – Reduction for guilty pleas

The court should take account of any potential reduction for a guilty plea in accordance with section 73 of the Sentencing Code and the Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea guideline.

Step 5 – Dangerousness

The court should consider whether having regard to the criteria contained in Chapter 6 of Part 10 of the Sentencing Code it would be appropriate to impose an extended sentence (sections 266 and 279).

When sentencing offenders to a life sentence, the notional determinate sentence should be used as the basis for the setting of a minimum term.

Step 6 – Totality principle

If sentencing an offender for more than one offence, or where the offender is already serving a sentence, consider whether the total sentence is just and proportionate to the overall offending behaviour in accordance with the Totality guideline.

Step 7 – Disqualification, compensation and ancillary orders

In all cases the court should consider whether to make compensation and/or other ancillary orders.

Ancillary orders – Crown Court Compendium

Disqualification guidance

1 Principles

Disqualification is part of the sentence.  Accordingly when setting the “discretionary” element of the disqualification (i.e. disregarding any period being spent in custody – see below) the court must have regard to the purposes of sentencing in section 57 of the Sentencing Code, which include: the punishment of offenders, the reduction of crime, the reform and rehabilitation of offenders and the protection of the public, when deciding the length of any disqualification.

In setting the length of any disqualification, sentencers should not disqualify for a period that is longer than necessary and should bear in mind the need for rehabilitation (for example, by considering the effects of disqualification on employment or employment prospects).

2 Minimum disqualification period

The minimum disqualification period for this offence is five years for offences committed after 28 June 2022; otherwise two years with compulsory extended re-test. 

This is increased to six years’ disqualification if the offender has been convicted of this same offence in the 10 years preceding commission of the present offence. (Three years for offences committed before 28 June 2022.)

3 Special reasons

The period of disqualification may be reduced or avoided if there are special reasons. These must relate to the offence; circumstances peculiar to the offender cannot constitute special reasons. To constitute a special reason, a matter must:

  • be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance;
  • not amount in law to a defence to the charge;
  • be directly connected with the commission of the offence;
  • be one which the court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence.

4 Interaction with custodial period – same offence

Under section 35A of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 where a court imposes a disqualification in addition to an immediate custodial sentence or a detention and training order for this offence, it must extend the disqualification period to take account of the custodial term imposed by:

  • one half of the custodial term imposed for an immediate standard determinate sentence (except where release is at the two thirds point – see below); no extension period should be imposed where a sentence is suspended.
  • two thirds of the custodial term for:
    • an extended sentence; or
    • a standard determinate sentence of over seven years
  • the term specified in the minimum term order of a life sentence.

This will avoid the disqualification expiring, or being significantly diminished, during the period the offender is in custody. No extension period should be imposed where a sentence is suspended.

The table at section 166 of the Sentencing Code provides further detail. (Note: this table applies to disqualification for non-Road Traffic Act 1988 offences but the principles apply to disqualifications imposed under that Act as well.)

Periods of time spent on remand or subject to an electronically monitored curfew are generally ignored. However, If the time spent on remand would lead to a disproportionate result in terms of the period of disqualification, then the court may consider setting the discretionary element (i.e. the period which would have been imposed but for the need to extend for time spent in custody) to take account of time spent on remand. This should not reduce the discretionary term below the statutory minimum period of disqualification.

5 Interaction with custodial period – different offence

The Court may be imposing a custodial sentence on the offender for another offence, which is not the one for which they are being disqualified or the offender may already be serving a custodial sentence for another offence. In either of these circumstances, under section 35B of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 the Court should have regard to "the diminished effect of disqualification as a distinct punishment if the person who is disqualified is also detained in pursuance of a custodial sentence”.

Where the court is intending to impose a disqualification and considering a custodial sentence for that and/or another offence, the following checklist may be useful:

  • Step 1 – does the court intend to impose a custodial term for the offence for which they are imposing a disqualification?

YES – the court must impose the appropriate extension period and consider step 2.

NO – go to step 3.

  • Step 2 – does the court intend to impose a custodial term for another offence (which is longer or consecutive) or is the defendant already serving a custodial sentence?

YES – consider what uplift in the period of discretionary disqualification (i.e. the period which would have been imposed but for the need to extend for time spent in custody) is required, having regard to the diminished effect of disqualification as a distinct punishment. Ignore any custodial term imposed for the offence for which disqualification is being imposed. Discretionary period + extension period + uplift = total period of disqualification

NO – no further uplift required. Discretionary period + extension period = total period of disqualification

  • Step 3 – does the court intend to impose a custodial term for another offence or is the defendant already serving a custodial sentence?

YES – then consider what uplift in the period of discretionary disqualification is required, having regard to the diminished effect of disqualification as a distinct punishment. Discretionary period + uplift = total period of disqualification

NO – no increase is needed to the discretionary period.

Step 8 – Reasons

Section 52 of the Sentencing Code imposes a duty to give reasons for, and explain the effect of, the sentence.

Step 9  – Consideration for time spent on bail (tagged curfew)

The court must consider whether to give credit for time spent on bail in accordance with section 240A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and section 325 of the Sentencing Code.