A Single Justice Procedure Notice: What should I do?
Many offences are dealt with by a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN). Generally, they are used for adult defendants accused of minor offences that cannot result in a prison sentence, such as speeding, driving without insurance or TV license evasion. SJPNs were introduced under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, taking effect from 13 April 2015. In just four years, it has changed the way Magistrates’ Courts operate, removing the need for a formal hearing for minor offences.
How do I respond to a Single Justice Procedure Notice?
Your notice will tell you who has brought the case against you (for example, the police) whilst it gives you the option to plead guilty or plead not guilty. That said, technically there are three options:
1. Guilty (I do not wish to come to court)
You accept that you have committed the offence and accept the penalties imposed by post.
2. Guilty (I wish to attend court)
You accept that you have committed the offence but wish for the matter to be heard at a court where you can attend and present your mitigation.
3. Not Guilty
You wish to dispute the accusations and request a trial date to be set to present your defence.
If you decided to plead guilty and not go to court, the Magistrate will make a decision based on the information they have to hand. You’ll then receive a letter with the Magistrate’s decision. If you plead not guilty, you have to go to court and give information to the Magistrates in person, so you’ll receive a letter telling you when you need to go to court.
What happens if I do not respond?
You have 21 days to respond to the notice, and if you do not respond the magistrate will make a decision about your case without your say, meaning if you are found guilty and sentenced, there will be no reduced sentence for a guilty plea. It’s also important to point out that your fine or penalty points may also be higher, potentially resulting in money being taken from your pay or benefits.
As discussed, the single justice cannot impose prison sentences, however, they can enforce:
- Victim surcharges
- Prosecution costs
- Driving licence penalty points
How can Noble Solicitors help you?
Receiving a SJPN can be incredibly stressful, but you’re not alone. We understand that you likely have lots of questions, such as:
- How do I complete it?
- What is this SJP form exactly?
- If I don’t attend court, will it have an adverse effect?
- I have mitigation that I would like the Court to know about. What can I do?
- What should I do with this notice?
We’re regularly helping people resolve minor offences. So whether you wish to speak to us about how we can help you keep your licence, plead for a lighter punishment or have the accusations dropped, our motoring law expert, Andrew Brumhill can help and answer any questions you may have.
Here at Noble Solicitors the support we provide is not limited to the traditional 9-5 hours; we can accommodate meetings to suit your work schedules. Whether you’d like us to speak with you at 5.30am in person or via Skype or Facetime, we can advise on the situation whilst ensuring you do not need to take time away from busy work schedules. For any further details please email Andrew.email@example.com.
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