Credit for guilty plea

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Credit for guilty plea
  • Basis for giving credit for an early guilty plea
  • The first reasonable opportunity—the first stage of the proceedings
  • Indication as to plea must be unequivocal
  • Pleas entered at a later stage
  • Procedure for applying credit
  • Advising on plea in a complex cases
  • Reductions in sentence in specific scenarios
  • The defendant indicates a guilty plea at the PTPH in the magistrates’ court and is then sent to the Crown Court
  • The defendant has learning difficulties but has pleaded guilty at the first appearance in the Crown Court on an either-way offence
  • More...

Credit for guilty plea

This Practice Note explains the circumstances in which a convicted offender may receive a reduced sentence for having pleaded guilty in accordance with section 73 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020), also referred to as the Sentencing Code, and the Sentencing Council’s overarching guideline on the reduction in sentence for a guilty plea.

Basis for giving credit for an early guilty plea

The court has the power to reduce the sentence it had determined in order to reflect the fact that the offender has pleaded guilty. How much credit is given for the guilty plea depends upon the stage at which the guilty plea is indicated by the defendant. The maximum level of reduction in sentence for a guilty plea in criminal proceedings is one-third.

The purpose of giving credit to those who plead guilty is to encourage those who are guilty to admit their guilt, as early as possible, so as to save the time and expense of a trial (on both sides). It is not intended to pressurise those who are not guilty to plead guilty and every defendant is entitled to put the prosecution to proof as to their case and it is for the prosecution to prove its case to the criminal standard (see Practice Note: Burden and standard of proof). However, every defendant (who is guilty) also has

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