Conditional cautions for adults

What are they?

A conditional caution is a caution which has conditions attached to it which the person must comply with.

When are they given?

In order for a conditional caution to be issued the following criteria must be satisfied:

  • The person is over 18
  • There is evidence in relation to an offence and there would be sufficient evidence to charge the person.
  • The person has admitted to the offence either in a police interview or to a police officer.
  • The person has given their consent to a conditional caution (a person has the right to refuse a conditional caution but this is likely to result in their case being sent to court).
  • The offence is suitable for a conditional caution; normally a low level offence will be (for instance there may be some offences that are too serious for the person to receive a conditional caution)
  • It is in the public interest to issue a conditional caution. On 20th October 2014 amendments to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came in to force and these changes means that reasonable efforts by the police or a prosecutor must be made to obtain the views of the victims of crime about issuing a conditional caution to the offender of the crime against them.

Who issues the conditional caution?

Police can issue conditional cautions in relation to low level offences but where an offence  is indictable then the decision to issue a conditional caution must be made by a prosecutor.

Can a conditional caution be issued for more than one offence?

A conditional caution can be given for more than one offence if the offences are related and it is suitable to group the offences together.  However if the number of offences adds to the seriousness of the offence then this may not be suitable.

Can a person still be issued with a conditional caution if they have been to court before and have previous convictions or have other out of court disposals on their record?

It is still possible for a person to receive a conditional caution if this is the situation if there has been a sufficient lapse of time from when they received the first out of court disposal or conviction and the offence is not similar or the same as the other offence.

What conditions will be attached to the conditional caution?

Conditions can include a condition for either rehabilitation, reparation or punishment.  Rehabilitation conditions may include conditions to reduce the likelihood of offending so this could include attendance on an anger management course for someone who has committed an assault.  An example of reparation could be for someone to repair damage so for instance repair a damaged window if the person has committed criminal damage.  Punishment can include a financial penalty.

What happens if a person doesn’t comply with the conditions of the conditional caution?  If the person fails to comply with the conditions of the conditional caution then they can be prosecuted for the original offence and they will be required to attend court where they can then face a conviction for the original offence.

How does a conditional caution appear on a person’s record?

A conditional caution will be recorded on a person’s criminal record but it will be regarded as ‘spent’ within three months after the date the conditional caution was issued (unless the conditional caution is revoked and the person is prosecuted for the original offence.)  The fact that the caution is ‘spent’ means that it will not need to be disclosed unless applying for certain types of jobs.

At Emery Johnson Astills we have an experienced criminal department; if you require advice or assistance regarding conditional cautions or any other criminal matter team then please contact our criminal team and a member of our staff will be happy to help you 0116 255 4855 (Leicester office) 01509 610312 (Loughborough/Coalville Office).