Breach of Community Orders and Failure to Appear at Court
Breach of a Community Order
In the event that a breach occurs, the Court must do either of the following:-
- Amend the terms of the original order, so that the requirements placed on the offender are more severe; or
- Revoke the original order and re-sentence for the original offence.
It is therefore crucial to maintain contact with the Probation Service and seek urgent legal advice if you feel there is a risk that you will breach an order.
Failure to Appear at Court
If you are given pre-trial bail and subsequently fail to attend Court, you are committing an offence under s.6 (1) of the Bail Act 1976. In the event of a non-appearance, the prosecution will apply to the Court for what is called a ‘warrant without bail.’ This means that once you are located and arrested by the Police, you will be held in custody until your trial. It can be possible to show that you had a reasonable excuse for failing to appear (also known as ‘reasonable cause’) This needs to be backed up by strong evidence, so it is not sufficient to say that you made a mistake as to the date or time. Trials can even proceed in a person’s absence if necessary.
The maximum penalty is three months’ imprisonment if dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, or 12 in the Crown Court. In reality, the sentence may well be less severe, something that your solicitor will discuss with you in detail.
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