Minimum Sentences

Minimum Sentences

For certain offences, there are minimum terms of imprisonment that a Court must impose. Absent exceptional circumstances (or it being unjust), these sentences can be automatically imposed even for a first-time offender, or dependent on certain previous convictions. It is worth noting that the actual sentence may be far in excess of the minimum, dependent on the facts involved.

What offences have minimum sentences and what are the sentences?


If you have two or more convictions for dwelling house burglary, committed and sentenced on separate occasions, and then commit a third offence you face a minimum sentence of three years imprisonment.


Certain firearms offences carry a minimum sentence of 5 years for an adult, or 3 years for a youth aged 16 or 17, in the absence of exceptional circumstances. This includes first time offenders.

The offences include possession of specific firearms as well as possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence or intent to injure, carrying a firearm in a public place, use of a firearm to resist arrest. It also includes possession of any firearm disguised as another object. This includes, for example, a stun gun disguised as a mobile phone or a torch.


As of 17 July 2015, possession of an offensive weapon or a blade, on a second occasion, will carry a minimum sentence of 6 months for an adult, or 4 months for someone aged 16 or 17. The sentence must be imposed unless it is unjust in all the circumstances.


A minimum 7-year sentence applies to Class A drug trafficking offences in the case of an adult where there have been 2 previous, separate convictions for class A drug trafficking offences, unless it is unjust to impose. The offences include production, supply, possession with intent to supply, importing or exporting, or any attempt or conspiracy to commit these offences.

Does it have to be imposed?

The only reason why a minimum sentence would not be imposed, is if it is “unjust” to do so, or there are “exceptional circumstances” (this depends on the actual offence).

'Unjust' can refer to the circumstances of the offender, the offence or the previous offences where convictions are relevant. Credit for a guilty plea can also still be applied although it may not be the usual one third reduction for full credit.

How can I help?

It is vitally important that you receive expert advice in respect of plea and potential sentence. For example, a “timely” guilty plea to a third drugs offence could mean the difference between a sentence of 7 years and one of 5 years and 7 months. It may be that you have exceptional circumstances to argue for a lesser sentence.

There is a substantial body of case law dealing with mandatory minimum sentences, and it is vital that this is considered in detail and applied to the facts of your individual case. Please contact me on 07766001774 or email me (contact@crimelawyer.co.uk) to discuss this further. 




Gun Amnesty

A two-week gun amnesty began on 13 November 2017 across the UK. During this period, people will have an opportunity to dispose of firearms and ammunition safely, with 'no questions asked'.

Who are the police reaching out to?

The amnesty is directed at two distinct groups of people:

(i) Firstly, those who know they are in possession of illegal weapons or ammunition, and

(ii) Secondly, those who are perhaps innocent custodians of a weapon and possibly even unsure as to its legal status, but too frightened to do anything about it.

If I have a weapon what should I do?

You should ring 101 and make arrangements with the police. They will either direct you to take it to a nominated police station or arrange for its collection.

You do not have to give the police any information about yourself or the weapon if you do not wish to do so.

Will I face prosecution?

You will not be prosecuted for possessing the weapon/ammunition at the point of handover.

However, it may be inspected further to see whether it can be connected to any criminal offences.

If the weapon has been used in criminal activity, this will give rise to further investigation, and the amnesty will not prevent the police pursuing people for those offences.

How I can help

If you wish to take advantage of the amnesty but are worried about criminal liability, then please contact me urgently so that I can give specific advice on this matter.

Contact me on 07766001774 or email contact@crimelawyer.co.uk to arrange an appointment.