Posts Tagged ‘ licence ’

A Stranger Danger

Written by admin
December 21st, 2018

Crown Courts will regularly have to consider whether a client is “dangerous”. In essence, the issue is whether they are somebody who has committed an offence of a particular gravity, either now or in the past, or an offence that has attracted a particular sort of sentence. Faced with their current charge, the court has to consider whether they impose a real threat of particularly unpleasant sorts of harm to individuals in the future.

In general, when found dangerous, defendants have to serve two thirds, rather than half of the sentence set down by the court and they can only be released with the consent of the Parole Board. Many people also face an extended period of licence supervision to ensure that they are closely monitored by the National Offender Management Service.

It ought to be remembered, however, that there are certain offenders who can be found to be “dangerous” but who can still be released at the halfway period without the involvement of the Parole Board, and who needn’t be subject to the extended licence provisions. The finding of “dangerousness” is entered on the defendant’s record, but no other step is taken. This flags up their position to a subsequent sentencing court, dealing with either a new offence or a breach, but ensures their return to the community at the earliest and most appropriate time.

As times goes by, it seems apparent that fewer and fewer sentencing tribunals are aware of this power, or have it at the forefront of their minds when passing sentence. This may be something that many defence advocates needed to consider bringing to attention of a court that may be passing a very significant sentence on a client who deserves better.


Written by Sian Hall
April 3rd, 2018

It recently came to our attention that a recent defendant had been contacted by the DVLA and advised that they had recently been convicted of a drink-driving offence with a high reading and would therefore be required to have a medical assessment before their licence was to be returned.

The reality of the situation seems to be that the client had actually been convicted of failing to provide a blood sample for analysis, when suspected of being unfit as a result of the consumption of controlled drugs.

The defendant had a choice to make as to whether or not he was to contact Swansea to correct the misunderstanding.

Strangely, the defendant decided he was going to do nothing at all. He felt on balance he would prefer to have a drink-drive conviction on his record, rather than a conviction relating to drug-driving. His reasoning was that drugs were far more frowned upon than drink and his chances of being able to travel internationally were likely to be less restricted with a conviction that related to drink rather than drugs.

It was pointed out that a medical report might take some time and cost a substantial amount of money, leading to the driver being out of pocket and potentially without his licence for a longer period. Nevertheless, he decided not to contact the DVLA on the basis that he believed that in the long run he would be better with the erroneous matter recorded against him, rather than the drug-related offence.

Interesting to see the stigma that still attaches to the use of controlled drugs as compared to a serious incidence of driving with excess alcohol.

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