1. 1 Introduction
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For a long time several lobby groups have fought for change of traffic law and increase the sentence term from 2 years to 5 year term jail. The pressure has resulted from the increased cases of dangerous driving. There is need to empower courts with sentencing powers to effectively deal with worst driving offences (Shapland 2012: 200). It is difficult to offer a valid sentence to cases involving serious injury and death due to small culpability involved. More so, cases usually involve momentary concentration loss as well as large degree of harm. Accident victims are also faced with life changing harm and injuries. Knife crime offenses will also feature any form of harassment, threat or possession of dangerous objects. The present has argued for and against the new offense proposal and highlighted some of the benefits. Thus, knife crime and dangerous driving cases should be handled with caution due to the newly introduced offenses.
1. 2 Summary
The government believes that dangerous driving should be dealt with appropriately and criminal law should be fully implemented. The proposal will greatly influence the statutory obligations as outlined inEqualityAct 2010 (UK Government 2010). The proposal will apply to everyone in UK for dangerous driving. This implies that there is no directdiscriminationin the 2010 Act. The new proposal will also apply both to those with a shared protected characteristic as well as those who do not share a certain protected characteristic (UK Government 2012). In analysis, individuals who share a set of characteristics are more likely to be convicted than those who do not share certain characteristics. The proposal has also considered differences in sex, race and age. The new proposal ensures that there is a proportionate response to address cases of dangerous driving in an effective manner.
The proposal also includes the disabled with no serious adjustments. The main aim of the proposal is to include all the parties indiscriminately. The type of sentence for the disabled will solely depend on the seriousness of the injury as it may elicit positive effect on the disabled due to their actions (Shapland and Bottoms 2009: 90). More so, the new proposal is not an avenue to victimization and harassment. The government is satisfied with the changes to the offenses as it will reflect equality and foster good relations.
1. 3 Benefits of the proposal
Increasing the sentence term to 5 years will empower the judges to reflect on serious impacts of dangerous driving. The families and victims of serious accidents may be relieved by the changing trends in dangerous driving cases. More so, the society may feel relieved by the level of punishment fostered by the CJS (Shapland et al 2013: 190). It implies that the number of offenses will reduce due to deterrent effect. The scale of deterrent effect is mixed as well as the existing evidence. This has therefore hindered the quantification of the offense. The new proposal will not victimize drivers who have not committed any dangerous driving offense.
The offenders in the new proposal will be entitled to three main verdicts. The verdicts are categorized into options. The first option prescribes no action on the offenders (UK Government 2010). This implies that there will be change under this option. The costs incurred and the benefits accrued from the option will be zero. In addition, option 1 is mandated to create a novel offense by inflicting injury due to dangerous driving. The creation of a new offense will automatically lead to extra cost with creation of a new offense of serious dangerous driving. It is difficult to identify number of cases that have resulted to serious injuries. The proposal has alluded to charges s. 20 Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) which estimates the number of serious dangerous driving cases (UK Government 2010). For instance, there were 20 cases involving GBH and dangerous driving where the defendants were charged accordingly. Serious injuries were caused as exemplified by introduction of GBH charges. The success of conviction in this case is limited by the level and intent of carelessness. The level and intent of carelessness does not affect the new offense thus it is estimated that 20 cases will be convicted every year. The cases will lead to increase in the number of prisons from a sentence period of 1 year to 3 years (Shapland 2010: 343). This implies that the marginal cost on MOJ will be ? Im.
The creation of the novel offense will imply that the sentence term increase from 2 years for dangerous driving and 14 years for causing death. This will imply that the courts will effectively deal with dangerous driving cases. The new offense will allow courts to exercise justice and end spectrum of careless and dangerous driving (UK Government 2010). The courts will instill a feeling of relieve on the victims of dangerous driving and their families.
The new proposal will increase the term jail from a maximum of 2 years to 5 years for dangerous driving. It is evident that increasing maximum term sentence will generally drag sentences in the scope of dangerous driving as the courts will perceive that seriousness of the offences have increased. This will also imply that a significant increase in sentence term will increase demand for more prison places. However, the new offense will allow the courts to account for serious injuries caused by dangerous driving.
1. 4 Knife crime
The novel proposal has amended the offenses against threatening and possession of a pointed or sharp article. The law does not grant an excuse to anyone found in possession of a bladed or sharp article. The new proposal also seeks to clearly express that offense lobbied against possession will act as an alternative if the defendant is acquitted of the offense (Shapland 2012: 78). The new proposal ensures that any person in possession of a knife is acquitted despite threatening or endangering others.
1. 5 Mitigation and justification
The purpose of these amendments is to ensure that the resultant impacts are justified in a proportionate manner to achieve the legitimate aim of the law. The law aims at effectively addressing consequences related to dangerous driving. However, increase in term sentence would not be appropriate as it will bear more physical injury on the offenders (UK Government 2010). The new offense will also apply to those already convicted of the charges.
In any case offenders may be punished in form of consortium, fines or imprisonment. Punishment can also occur in three stereotypical forms of fines, prison and probation. The Federal sentencing Act justifies utilitarianism where punishment is a form of social goal or serves a certain purpose (UK Government 2010). Retributive theory justifies punishment for the committed immorality. The new proposal acts in accordance with retributive and utilitarian theories as the offense provide three options of charges based on the seriousness of the crime. Punishment in knife crime and dangerous driving is justified as the prosecution will weigh the intensity of the crime and the carelessness of the driver. The prosecution also considers the fate of the victims and their families.
1. 6 Conclusion
There are several changes in knife crime and dangerous driving crimes. The changes have adhered to the retributive and utilitarian theories. The new provision has offered three options of charges on the offenders in these cases. The changes will greatly impact the prisons. The novel provisions will also instill discipline among drivers as the charges are non-discriminatory. The changes will also provide a sigh of relieve to the victims and their families. Execution of the new offenses will also empower judges due to increase in term sentence. Generally, knife and dangerous driving crimes will effectively bring normality on the roads.
Shapland, J. (2010) ‘ Reflections on Social Values, Offending and Desistance Among Young Adult Recidivists’, Punishment and Society, 15(2).
Shapland, J. (2012). The Quality of Probation Supervision-A Literature Review. Sheffield: Centre for Criminology Research.
Shapland, J. and Bottoms, A. (2009). Steps towards Desistance: the Potential Role of Criminal Justice Support. Paper to the European Society of Criminology conference, Liege.
Shapland, J., Robinson, G. and Sorsby, A. (2013) Restorative Justice in Practice. London: Routledge.
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UK Government. (2012). Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Norwich: The stationery Office.