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There are a range of formal out-of-court disposals available to the police and prosecutors for dealing with adult offenders. This guidance sets out the legal framework for dealing with low-level, mainly first-time, offending without a prosecution. A simple caution may only be given where specified criteria are met.

They may be referred to in future legal proceedings and may be revealed as part of a criminal record check.. This confirms that:. Indictable-only Offences - Section 17 2 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act prohibits the police from giving a simple caution to an offender for an indictable-only offence unless the CPS agrees that a caution should be given. There are also statutory restrictions on their use in indictable-only and specified either-way offences see below. An assessment of seriousness of the offence is the starting point for considering whether a simple caution may be appropriate.

The more serious the offence, the less likely it is that a simple caution will be appropriate. Offences which are likely to result in a custodial sentence whether immediate or suspended or a high-level community order should generally be prosecuted. If the offence is also a sexual offence or involves violence against the person especial care should be exercised before offering a simple caution.

Section 17 2 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act restricts the use of simple cautions for indictable-only offences offences which, if committed by an adult, are triable only on indictment. An offender must not be given a simple caution for such an offence unless a police officer of at least the rank of Superintendent determines that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the offender or the offence, and the CPS agree that a caution should be given.

Section 17 3 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act restricts the use of simple cautions for certain either-way offences offences which, if committed by an adult, are triable either on indictment or summarily. An offender must not be given a simple caution for an either-way offence that has been specified by the Secretary of State unless a police officer of at least the rank of Inspector determines that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the offender or the offence.

The either-way offences that have been specified by the Secretary of State are summarised as follows:. The MoJ guidance sets out a non-exhaustive list of factors to be taken into when assessing whether there are "exceptional circumstances". Furthermore Annex A of the Guidance provides an overview of the factors for considering whether a simple caution is appropriate. The Code for Crown Prosecutors also sets out at in section 7 the general circumstances in which an out-of-court disposal including simple and conditional cautions may take the place of a prosecution.

Information about Simple Cautioning for Adult offenders including the gravity factor matrix can also be retrieved from the PNLD using the search word "Matrix". Only the police have the power to administer a caution. The CPS does, however, have a role to play in helping the police to ensure that the Ministry of Justice guidelines contained within the Guidance are applied consistently and fairly.

Accordingly, the prosecutor should refer to the police any case in which they consider a caution to be the appropriate disposal. Simple cautioning and Conditional Cautioning are the only formal disposals which fall short of prosecution; but it is not the only way to divert an individual from the criminal justice system.

Prosecutors are referred to the following discrete chapters of Legal Guidance which deal with Conditional Cautions Before a simple caution or a Conditional Caution is given it is important to establish where appropriate and possible what the victim's views about the offence are and the proposed method of disposal. It will be important to consider the nature and extent of the harm caused and whether any form of compensation could be paid.

If so, a Conditional Caution might be preferable to a simple caution. Victims' views although important cannot be the deciding factor. That decision must be made by the decision maker in the light of all the circumstances of the case. Section 17 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act restricts the use of simple cautions for repeat offending. An offender must not be given a simple caution for a summary offence an offence which, if committed by an adult, is triable only summarily or an either-way offence that has not been specified by the Secretary of State if in the two years before the offence was committed the offender has been convicted of, or cautioned for, a similar offence, unless a police officer of at least the rank of Inspector determines that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the offender, the present offence or the offence.

A police officer of at least the rank of Inspector must also determine whether a offence was similar. Section 17 6 of the Act requires a decision on whether there are exceptional circumstances to be made in accordance with the guidance in paragraphs and a decision on whether a offence was similar to be made in accordance with the guidance in paragraph An offender is to be treated as having been cautioned for a offence if they were given a simple caution, a conditional caution, a youth caution or a youth conditional caution. A decision-maker is only permitted to conclude that there are exceptional circumstances justifying a simple caution if satisfied that, were the offender to be convicted of the offence, the sentencing court would be unlikely to impose a custodial sentence whether immediate or suspended or a high-level community order.

From that date cautions, Conditional Cautions, reprimands and warnings and from 8 April youth cautions and Youth Conditional Cautions all became subject to the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act ROA. Cautions including reprimands and warnings and from 8 April youth cautions become spent at the time when they are given i. Conditional Cautions and Youth Conditional Cautions will be regarded as spent three months after the date on which they were administered unless the Conditional Caution is revoked and the offender is prosecuted instead and convicted of the original offence.

In that case the rehabilitation period of the Conditional Caution is the same as that of the offence for which the offender is convicted. Transitional arrangements in paragraph 19 of schedule 27 of the CJIA provide that the change applies to cautions, reprimands and warnings given before the commencement date as it applies to cautions given on or after that date.

Care should be taken when dealing with spent cautions especially when presenting antecedent records in court. The practice relating to spent convictions set out in paragraph 21A of the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction CCPD applies equally to spent cautions and is to be followed.

This means that prosecutors should not refer in open court to the existence of a spent caution, reprimand or warning, youth caution, or Conditional Caution and, as far as practicable, references to them in any record which is given to the court should be marked as spent.

However, the ROA makes clear that the general protection from disclosure afforded to spent cautions and Conditional Cautions does not affect "the determination of any issue, or prevent the admission or requirement of any evidence, relating to a person's convictions or to circumstances ancillary thereto — a in any criminal proceedings before a court in Great Britain including any appeal or reference in a criminal matter ".

Spent cautions can be used in criminal proceedings in the same way and to the same extent as spent convictions, as to which see paragraph 21A. If a prosecutor decides that a caution is appropriate, where possible this should be discussed with the police before the case is referred back to them for the caution to be administered. The authority for the CPS to make a decision to caution whether simple or conditional is contained within s. Note by subsection 9, caution includes a Conditional Caution, reprimand or final warning now a youth caution.

Cautioning is not the only method of diverting an individual from the criminal justice system. Other options include taking no action and giving an informal non-citable warning, such as a Community Resolution. A caution is a serious matter.

It is recorded by the police and may be cited in subsequent court proceedings. It represents one form of entry into the criminal justice system. Prosecutors should be aware that the existence of a formal method of disposal falling short of prosecution gives rise to a danger that an offender may be cautioned when a more informal action might have been more appropriate. A PND is a type of fixed penalty notice for a specified range of low level offences, for example Drunk and Disorderly. It is only available to those over 18 years of age.

A person has 21 days from the date the PND is given either to pay the penalty amount in full or request a court hearing or in some cases ask to attend an educational course. Where the PND is paid in full that discharges any liability to be convicted of the penalty offence but the paying of the penalty is not an admission of guilt.

If a person fails to pay the penalty amount in full or request a court hearing or, in some cases, ask to attend an educational course within 21 days then a fine one and half times the penalty amount will be registered in the magistrates' court. There is no admission of guilt required to give a PND but there must be sufficient evidence to support a successful prosecution. If the offender requests a court case the prosecutor must review the file in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases.

This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases. It is regularly updated to reflect changes in law and practice. Help us to improve our website; let us know what you think by taking our short survey.

Contrast Switch to colour theme Switch to blue theme Switch to high visibility theme Switch to soft theme. Search for Search for. Top menu Careers Contact. Headlines Simple cautions provide a means of dealing with low-level, mainly first-time, offending without a prosecution. A simple caution must not be offered to a person who has not admitted to committing the offence, and must not be given to an offender who does not agree to accept the simple caution. A simple caution must not be given if the decision-maker considers that it is in the public interest for the offender to be prosecuted.

A simple caution should not be confused with a conditional caution a caution with conditions attached. Conditional cautions were introduced by the Criminal Justice Act This confirms that: Out-of-court-disposals are available for use by the police in relation to Hate Crime and Domestic Abuse cases in the same way as any other type of offence; There is no requirement for the police to refer Hate Crime or Domestic Abuse cases to the CPS for approval of an out-of-court disposal.

The sole exception are conditional cautions which are considered to be generally inappropriate in Hate Crime and Domestic Abuse cases and which can only by given in exceptional circumstances with the authority of a CPS prosecutor; Indictable-only Offences - Section 17 2 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act prohibits the police from giving a simple caution to an offender for an indictable-only offence unless the CPS agrees that a caution should be given.

Indictable-only offences Section 17 2 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act restricts the use of simple cautions for indictable-only offences offences which, if committed by an adult, are triable only on indictment. Specified either-way offences Section 17 3 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act restricts the use of simple cautions for certain either-way offences offences which, if committed by an adult, are triable either on indictment or summarily.

The either-way offences that have been specified by the Secretary of State are summarised as follows: Offensive weapon and bladed article offences; Carrying a firearm in a public place; Child cruelty; Sexual offences against children including those relating to child prostitution and pornography ; Sex trafficking offences; Indecent and pornographic images of children; Importing, exporting, producing, supplying and possessing with intent to supply to another Class A drugs.

Repeat Cautions Section 17 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act restricts the use of simple cautions for repeat offending. Exceptional circumstances A decision-maker is only permitted to conclude that there are exceptional circumstances justifying a simple caution if satisfied that, were the offender to be convicted of the offence, the sentencing court would be unlikely to impose a custodial sentence whether immediate or suspended or a high-level community order. Procedure and Authorities If a prosecutor decides that a caution is appropriate, where possible this should be discussed with the police before the case is referred back to them for the caution to be administered.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases.

Continue reading. Prosecution guidance This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases. Rydym yn erlyn achosion troseddol yng Nghymru a Lloegr. Reporting rape or sexual abuse takes tremendous courage. One of the…. Navigate to tweet 0 Navigate to tweet 1 Navigate to tweet 2 Navigate to tweet 3 Navigate to tweet 4. Scroll to top.

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