“Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe.”
This series of articles seeks to address the concerns we as parents have towards our children and their future. Structured around the old saying, I will seek to bring light heart to a worrying subject. That being the criminal investigation, prosecution and defence of our children.
An adage applies that we never stop being parents. We may guide our child into adulthood and seek to arm them with the tools to forge their own career path. However, sometimes our children fall foul of the law. At this point we may see a life less well spent and marred by adverse circumstance, flash before our eyes. Do not despair, we can help, but it is important to involve a solicitor sooner than later.
The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old. This means that children under 10 can’t be arrested or charged with a crime. Other punishments are given to children under 10 who commit offences, for example, a Local Child Curfew or Child Safety Order could apply. Children under 10 who break the law regularly can sometimes be taken into care. Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and prosecuted/taken to court if they commit a crime, where they are subject to a “Welfare” based criminal justice regime.
In certain circumstances parents can be held responsible for the criminal behaviour of the child in the form or Parenting Programmes, Contracts and Orders. Breach of a Contract could lead to an Order, where a parent breaches an Order, they may themselves commit an offence.
Convictions or out of court disposals received as a child are spent (Olde) more quickly than with adults. A spent conviction [or caution] is a criminal record which under the terms of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, can be effectively ignored after a period and need not be disclosed even upon requirement to do so. It may also become undiscoverable dependent upon the level of DBS (criminal record) check required. Different rules apply dependent upon the offence and circumstances.
Offences committed when we are under 18 may be impactful on our continued education and adult careers. When applying for most jobs, it is not necessary to tell an employer about spent convictions or cautions. However, and dependant on the level of checks required, spent or unspent (not Olde) convictions or out of court disposals may need to be disclosed and/or may be discoverable upon DBS check. The most impactful offences involve dishonesty, violence, and those of a sexual nature.
Jobs working with children and vulnerable adults e.g., medical practitioners, teachers, will require a standard or enhanced criminal record check and to know about all convictions, cautions and relevant allegations. In some circumstances cautions and a first conviction can be filtered/protected from discovery, however there are offences which can never be filtered. Likewise, applications for admittance into a profession e.g., solicitors, accountants, and barristers, are likely to require a standard criminal record check.
A basic DBS check will only pick up on convictions and cautions which are unspent. The following chart is a useful reference for establishing what is discoverable on an enhanced or standard check.
|Disposal||Age when given/sentenced||How long since given/sentenced|
|Caution for a specified offence*||18 or over||Any time|
|Caution for a non-specified offence||18 or over||Less than 6 years|
|Conviction for a specified offence*||Any age||Any time|
|Conviction resulting in prison sentence||Any age||Any time|
|Conviction for non-specified offence||Any age||Less than 11 years|
|Under 18||Less than 5.5 years|
We Can Help
Whether subject to legal aid or private retainer it is important to have a solicitor on side earlier than later. We are always at hand to advise should you have a specific legal query. If under investigation, we can represent during interview. We have had great success in highlighting lines of enquiry leading away from prosecution of our young clients under the Pre-Charge Engagement Procedure. We regularly represent young persons in the criminal courts. In very rare circumstances we can successfully apply for the deletion of criminal records held on the police national computer.
Youth offending can be a slippery slope, stigmatisation of children can lead to reoffending and more serious penalties into adulthood. Our award-winning Criminal Defence departments will help you navigate a brighter future for your child, when hopefully you can worry less.
Moving on we will have more tenuously linked discussions on:
New Driver Regulations which can easily result in the loss of a young person’s entitlement to drive.
Dishonesty offences can be the most impactful on a young person’s career and can arise in the most unsophisticated of circumstances.
Sexual offences will occur when issues of consent arise and can stigmatise young persons for the rest of their lives.
There probably will not be any discussion in relation to A Sixpence in your Shoe, but watch this space, we may yet shoehorn something in.
Speak to our Criminal Defence team.
To find out more about what this means for you, contact our expert Criminal Defence Team on 0330 999 4999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com | 01895 207291