Either way offences

These offences fall into a category of offences that can be tried in the magistrates' court or the crown court.

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This category of offence can be tried summarily in the magistrates' court or on indictment in the Crown Court.

Some offences that fall into this category include theft, dangerous driving, burglary and obtaining property/services by deception amongst others.

If a decision is made that a case should be tried on indictment in the Crown Court the accused has no say in the matter and the case must go to the Crown Court.  However, should the magistrates decide that they have the power to try the case then the accused, if he is pleading 'not guilty', can either elect to take his case to the Crown Court or have it tried by the magistrates.

Most offenders given this opportunity prefer summary trial in the magistrates' court.  Sometimes, in the case of dangerous driving or theft, the offender will hope to get a better chance of an acquittal with a jury trial.  In these circumstances committal proceedings will take place and the case will be set down for trial and will be heard in the Crown Court.

Should the offender choose to be tried by the magistrates he must be made aware that if he is found guilty the magistrates have the power to send him to the Crown Court for sentencing.  This would arise if the magistrates felt the sentencing limitations imposed on them were too restrictive.  They only have the power to impose a maximum fine of £5000 and/or a sentence of 12 months imprisonment.

 

Criminal courts - GOV.UK

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Magistrates' Court

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