Legal Jargon

An offence that can only be tried in the Crown Court, (although all cases have to commence in the Magistrates Court).

A witness statement is a formal document, addressed to the Court, in which a witness sets out all the facts that they are aware of that apply to the case. They are normally treated as ‘evidence in chief’.

A penalty imposed by the court on those convicted of offences.

A totting disqualification or ban is a driving ban that comes as a result of a driver accumulating 12 or more penalty points on their licence within three years. The court will arrange a hearing where it will consider the severity of the offences and determine the length of the disqualification. Totting disqualifications last a minimum of six months. After this period the driver can reapply for their licence.

A sentence on conviction for a criminal offence, the serving of which is completed in the community, often with an obligation on the convicted to comply with certain conditions. Failure to comply with these conditions can result in the full sentence being carried out. For example, if someone is convicted and given a prison sentence of six months suspended, and they fail to abide by the conditions set, they may be recalled and sent to prison for six months or have the conditions extended. Suspended sentences are only applicable to more minor offences for which the custodial sentence would be two years or less.

A criminal offence that usually tried in the Magistrates Court and is considered to be less serious than other kinds of criminal offence.

The standard of proof refers to the amount of evidence that is necessary and needed to prove an assertion or claim in a trial in court – what needs to be established in order to win a case. The standard of proof required varies depending on the type of case. For example, in a medical negligence case, the standard of proof is “on the balance of probabilities”. The claimant must prove that their injury is more likely than not to have been caused by the “breach of duty”. Another way of looking at it is in percentage terms, i.e. 51% or more. This is a much lower standard than in a criminal case where the standard if “beyond reasonable doubt”.

This is when an individual is released from police custody while the police continuing to investigate the alleged criminal offence. There are no time limits for the investigation and no conditions to follow, unlike conditional bail. However, despite the lack of conditions, it is still inadvisable for people who have been released under investigation to make contact with the claimant or any witnesses as this could be deemed to be intimidation or perverting the course of justice, both of which offences, if proved, carry prison sentences.

Someone who is returned to hospital either from s17 leave, a Community Treatment Order or conditional discharge.

If you are convicted of a motoring offence, the court may endorse your driving licence with penalty points. Different numbers of points are awarded for differing levels of offence:

– Speeding (3+ points)
– Driving without due care and attention (3 to 9)
– Using a mobile phone while behind the wheel (3 to 6 points)
– Parking in a dangerous location (3 points)
– Drink / drug-driving offences (3 to 11 points)
– Failing to stop after an accident (5 to 10 points)
– Driving an uninsured vehicle (8 to 10 points)
– Driving while disqualified (6 points)

A full list of offences and points is available at https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements / endorsement-codes-and-penalty-points Points remain on your licence for a period of at least four years and as much as 11 years in the case of points for drink or drug driving or causing death by careless driving. If you accumulate 12 or more points within a three-year period, you may be disqualified (‘banned’) from driving for a period of six months or more.

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