The courts are told to treat all cases involving the making, downloading or possession of indecent images very seriously and have been issued with sentencing guidelines to assist in sentencing in all cases.
The guidelines can be found here
As can be seen in almost all cases (except where a case involves a small quantity of the least serious category C images) the starting point is an immediate prison sentence.
These guidelines are obviously very worrying for anybody who is being investigated for an indecent images offence or who has been charged and is due to attend court.
However despite these guidelines custody or prison is not inevitable where the proper mitigating factors are presented to the court in the right way.
These can include:
- No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
- Previous good character and/or exemplary conduct (ideally backed up with character references)
- Age and/or lack of maturity
- Mental disorder (including depression) or learning disability, particularly where linked to the commission of the offence
- Demonstration of steps taken to address offending behaviour
This final mitigating factor is incredibly important and in all cases where you are admitting the offence and intending to plead guilty we will give detailed advice as to what steps you should be considering to address your offending behaviour. These can include the following:
- Contacting your GP for help support in relation to any underlying mental health difficulties or drug or alcohol problems that may have contributed to your behaviour
- Contacting the Lucy Faithful Foundation for help, support and advice
- Arranging for appropriate counselling e.g. from the StopSO organisation
Making a detailed and eloquent plea in mitigation at your sentencing hearing is vital to maximise your chances of avoiding prison. This can only happen if you are represented by an experienced lawyer who does these cases day in day out.
Our record persuading the court NOT to send our clients to prison is unmatched and notwithstanding the sentencing guidelines stating that 12 months immediate prison is a starting point for these cases incredibly over 99% of our clients pleading guilty to making category A images have avoided prison in the last 6 years.
The reason for these incredible results is that we meticulously prepare these cases by having multiple meetings with you where we obtain detailed information about your work, family and background and the reasons behind you committing the offence. Only then can we be in a position to present your case in the most detailed and sympathetic way to the court.
If you have been arrested or charged with any offence involving indecent images please do not hesitate to contact us for free and confidential initial advice. Our lines are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.