Petty Offenses and Crimes of the Heart

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If so, the cost, delay and uncertainty of outcome involved in bringing criminal proceedings would usually not be a proportionate response to the offending, and therefore a prosecution would not be in the public interest. In such cases, the OOCDs available to a prosecutor are likely to be as or more effective in terms of individual retribution or general deterrence as any nominal penalty imposed by the court.

Minor Offences | The Crown Prosecution Service

Where no admission is made to a minor offence by the suspect, and it is therefore not possible to offer a caution or conditional caution, prosecutors will be faced with a choice between initiating proceedings and taking no action. In some such cases, depending on all the circumstances, no further action may be the more appropriate disposal. Prosecutors should also be mindful that where a decision is made that a person should be given a caution or conditional caution, and it proves not to be possible to give the person the caution or conditional caution for instance, the person does not make the required admission of guilt or simply refuses to accept the caution , the person must instead be charged with an offence see the Police and Criminal Evidence Act , section 37 B 7 , and the Code for Crown Prosecutors , paragraphs 7.

Therefore, once an OOCD has been offered to a suspect, it will no longer be possible to take no further action, unless the circumstances change. Accordingly, before making a decision to offer or authorise an OOCD, prosecutors should bear in mind that if the OOCD is not administered for any reason, a prosecution will invariably follow. For this reason, it will always be important to give careful consideration to whether the public interest lies more appropriately in no further action than in the offer of an OOCD.


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Common sense should also guide prosecutors at all levels when deciding the appropriate course of action. They should stand back from the particular facts of the case and look at the alleged offending in the context of everyday life.

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Applying the letter of the criminal law to the facts of each individual case is, of course, entirely appropriate, but so is looking at the alleged offending in the round and identifying the right disposal in the circumstances. The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases.

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This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases. It is regularly updated to reflect changes in law and practice. Contrast Switch to colour theme Switch to blue theme Switch to high visibility theme Switch to soft theme. Search for Search for. Top menu Careers Contact. Minor Offences Legal Guidance. Introduction Minor Offences charged by the Police Alternative to Prosecution The Public Interest Common sense Introduction This guidance has been prepared to help decision-makers who are reviewing cases involving minor offences to decide whether a prosecution or an alternative disposal is more appropriate.

Criminal Waivers

Minor Offences charged by the Police The majority of cases prosecuted by the CPS are charged by the police, and many of these will include minor offences. Alternatives to Prosecution The alternatives to prosecution available to a prosecutor are: a cautions; b conditional cautions; c Penalty Notices for Disorder which can be suggested to the police as an appropriate disposal ; d reprimands and final warnings for youths only ; e no further action.

The Public Interest In many cases of minor offending the loss or harm is minor, and the seriousness and consequence of the offending is low-level. Common sense Common sense should also guide prosecutors at all levels when deciding the appropriate course of action.


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The Code for Crown Prosecutors The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases. Continue reading. Finding libraries that hold this item You may have already requested this item.

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Petty Crimes

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