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Adult Conditional Cautions – when are they issued by the police?

Adult Conditional Cautions – when are they issued by the police?

An adult conditional caution is pretty much as it says – a caution that has conditions attached to it. Just like a simple caution, a conditional caution is an alternative to being charged.

A person receiving a conditional caution must comply with the conditions specified. The conditions are for the purpose of rehabilitation, reparation and/or punishment. Additionally, they must be appropriate, proportionate and achievable.

What to do if you are offered a police caution

Before we look at the specifics of a conditional caution, it is worth pointing out that you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity, ideally before you get to this stage! You are entitled to free legal representation at any police interview. So, call us today on 01895 449288 (West Drayton, London, or 01727 840900 (St Albans, Herts).

If you are offered a police caution, whether a simple caution or a conditional caution, get advice from a solicitor before reaching a decision on whether or not to accept the caution.

  • It could transpire that there is not enough evidence to charge you; on that basis the criteria for issuing a caution have not been met.
  • Accepting or rejecting a caution can have career implications. It can also hinder travel plans to some countries.
  • If it is a conditional caution, the conditions attached may not be appropriate and could be challenged.

Why is a conditional caution given?

The conditional cautioning scheme was introduced to help resolve cases quickly and to reduce crime by tackling offenders’ behaviour at an early stage. It aims to deliver justice more effectively on behalf of victims and to reduce court costs and free up court time.

A conditional caution may be considered more appropriate than a simple caution where the victim has suffered financial loss, or damage to property or personal injury, or where rehabilitation would be beneficial.

When can an adult conditional caution be given?

There are several criteria that must be met before an adult conditional caution can be issued:

  1. The person is over 18. (youths aged between 10-17 can also receive conditional cautions, but must have an appropriate adult present).
  2. There must be evidence that the person has committed the offence, sufficient to have charged them.
  3. The person has admitted to the offence either in a police interview or to a police officer.
  4. The individual must consent to receiving a conditional caution.
  5. The offence is suitable for a conditional caution; normally a low-level offence. NB: An adult conditional caution cannot be given for any offence classified as a hate crime.
  6. It is in the public interest to issue a conditional caution.

What conditions will be attached?

Conditions attached to the caution are for the purpose of rehabilitation, reparation or punishment.

  • Rehabilitation might include counselling or therapy such as attending an anger management course, or it could involve compulsory treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Reparation could be to make good any damage caused by the offence, or it could be to carry out unpaid work within the community.
  • Punishment could involve a financial penalty such as financial reparation to the victim.

What happens if the caution conditions are breached?

If you fail to comply with the conditions of the conditional caution then you can be prosecuted for the original offence. You will be required to attend court where you may face a conviction for the original offence.

How long does a conditional caution last?

If you accept a conditional caution, it will be recorded on the Police National Computer. It is regarded as ‘spent’ once the conditions are met or after three months after it is administered, whichever is sooner. On that basis, it does not have to be disclosed to an employer for the purposes of applying for most jobs. However, some professional roles and jobs, such as working with children or vulnerable adults, are exempt from this rule and the caution will show up on Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates.

Speak to a defence lawyer today

If you have been called for interview by the police, or have already been interviewed and offered a caution, contact Well’s Burcombe’s specialist defence lawyers as soon as possible on 01895 449288 (West Drayton, London, or 01727 840900 (St Albans, Herts), or email us.

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