Sentencing Process - Step five

Step 5: Take into account a plea of guilty

This step applies where the offender has pled guilty to the offence or offences for which they are being sentenced.

In these circumstances section 196 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 provides that the court must take into account the stage in the proceedings at which, and the circumstances in which, the offender indicated their intention to plead guilty.

The effect of this is that where an offender has pled guilty a court will consider reducing the sentence to be imposed, applying what is known as a ‘discount’ to the headline sentence.

Step 6: Consider time spent in custody