What happens when a client receives a custodial sentence?
Produced in partnership with Flora Page of 23 Essex Street
What happens when a client receives a custodial sentence?

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Flora Page of 23 Essex Street provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What happens when a client receives a custodial sentence?
  • What do you say to a client facing a custodial sentence?
  • Fundamental principles
  • Custody threshold
  • Pre-sentence reports
  • Adjourning for a PSR
  • Immediate custodial sentences
  • Suspended sentence order
  • Mitigation and character references
  • Indications on sentence in advance of plea
  • More...

This Practice Note reflects the procedural code for sentencing offenders in England and Wales (Sentencing Code) that applies from 1 December 2020, as set out in Parts 2–13 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020). For those considering whether the Sentencing Code applies to their case, see Practice Note: Sentencing Code.

What do you say to a client facing a custodial sentence?

When clients are facing time in prison, they can feel overwhelmed or daunted. This Practice Note is designed to be a speaking aid to assist practitioners to advise a client as to a possible custodial sentence. It points the practitioner to relevant detailed guidance and enables a practitioner to discuss with their client what will happen if they receive a custodial term.

Fundamental principles

Detailed guidance on the general principles applicable to all sentencing exercises can be found in the following Practice Notes:

  1. Sentences and the power to vary a sentence, and

  2. Pre-sentence reports

  3. Calculating time spent on remand or on tagged bail

  4. Victim personal statements in criminal proceedings

  5. Sentencing criminal offences—sentencing guidelines and resources

  6. Credit for guilty plea

  7. Mitigation in the sentencing of criminal offences

What follows is a summary of the fundamental principles applicable to custodial sentences.

Custody threshold

A custodial sentence must not be imposed unless the offence:

‘was so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community sentence can be justified for the offence’

This

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