Criminal Justice and Courts Act Comes Into Force
A motorist that drives while disqualified then kills or seriously injures a fellow road user might now face a tougher sentence, the government has confirmed. The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 – that came into force on April 13th – ensures a perpetrator that kills can be imprisoned for up to ten years. The previous limit was two years. Furthermore, a new offence of causing serious injury by driving while disqualified has been created. The maximum sentence is four years. The government has also ensured a driving ban can now be extended so it continues once an offender has been released.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Act covers a range of offences beyond motoring. Its purpose is to ensure that a victim of crime – or those left behind - feel the perpetrator has been reasonably punished. It might also act as a deterrent to a would-be offender.
Justice Secretary Discusses Courts Act
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We have changed the law to deliver tougher and swifter justice for victims and the public. As well as bringing in a range of vital new offences and other important legal changes, our reforms are strengthening sentencing powers to provide better protection for our communities.
Safety Charity Congratulates Government
Road Safety Charity Brake has “congratulated” the government for delivering what it calls “desperately needed improvements to justice for bereaved and injured victims of disqualified drivers”.
Brake Campaigns Officer, Ed Morrow, said: “This is an important day for everybody involved in campaigning for better justice for victims of criminal driving. Getting behind the wheel when a court has already found you to be a danger on the road, and has disqualified you from doing so, is one of the most selfish decision you can make as a driver. It is entirely right that maximum sentences are being increased, and we hope that judges will make use of them where appropriate.”
Good First Step
Mr Morrow added: “This is a good first step to securing better justice for victims and families, many of whom have been left feeling betrayed by inappropriate charges and paltry sentences. There are a number of other urgent issues with how the justice system handles cases of criminal driving, and Brake will be pressuring whoever forms the next government to follow the current Ministry of Justice review through to a satisfactory conclusion.”