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Proposed sentencing guidelines for aggravated vehicle taking and motoring offences unveiled

Proposed sentencing guidelines for aggravated vehicle taking and motoring offences unveiled


The independent Sentencing Council has published proposed sentencing guidelines for individuals convicted of motoring offences committed while driving vehicles without the owner's consent.

These guidelines, currently open for consultation, target offenders involved in aggravated vehicle taking, particularly instances where driving without permission results in dangerous driving, injury, property damage, or even death.

The draft guidelines outline four specific aggravated vehicle taking offences, encompassing scenarios such as driving a stolen vehicle or a vehicle without the owner's authority. The proposed guidelines aim to replace existing ones for magistrates’ courts, offering a more comprehensive and updated framework. Notably, they include sentence levels for the Crown Court, marking a significant expansion in coverage.

His Honour Judge Simon Drew KC, a Sentencing Council member, emphasised the need for consistent sentencing for such offences, stating, "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." The proposed guidelines are designed to address the varying consequences of these offences and enable courts to take a unified approach to sentencing.

The proposed guidelines also introduce a new guideline for vehicle registration fraud offences, covering activities such as forging, altering, or fraudulently using vehicle number plates. Additionally, an overarching guideline for driver disqualification is suggested, outlining principles for imposing disqualifications.

This latest development completes the Sentencing Council's package of new and revised motoring offence guidelines. In 2023, guidelines for causing death by dangerous driving and other related offences were published. The proposed guidelines are applicable to adult offenders in England and Wales, offering a comprehensive approach to dealing with a range of motoring offences.

The consultation period for these guidelines runs from February 21, 2024, to May 22, 2024. Judges, magistrates, organisations, and members of the public with an interest in this area are encouraged to share their views during this period.

These proposed guidelines address the complexities of aggravated vehicle taking, ensuring a fair and consistent approach to sentencing, and represent a crucial step in updating the legal framework to reflect contemporary challenges in motoring offences.