Statistical Bulletin Crime and Justice Series: Criminal Proceedings in Scottish Courts, 2006/07

Criminal Proceedings in Scottish Courts 2006-07

Annexe D - Definitions and Classifications

D1. The measures available to a court in sentencing a person with a charge proved depend on whether the accused is an adult (21 or over), a young offender (aged 16 but less than 21) or a child (under 16 or under 18 with a current supervisory requirement from a children's hearing) and on whether the court is satisfied on the evidence of 2 medical practitioners that he is suffering from mental disorder. The measures available in 2006/07 included:

Custodial sentences

a. Imprison the offender (adults only) or, if the offender has been released from prison on licence following a previous conviction, recall him to prison.

b. Sentence a young offender to a young offenders institution ( YOI) for a period not greater than that of imprisonment which the court could have imposed on an adult.

c. Recall to YOI an offender who is under supervision following detention in a YOI for a previous offence.

d. Sentence a young offender under 18 years of age convicted of murder to detention for an indeterminate period. (The effect of these sentences is normally detention or further detention in a young offenders institution.)

e. Sentence a child to a specified period of detention in a place and on such conditions as Scottish Ministers may direct.

(The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced provisions to allow courts to impose additional post-release supervision on licence where they consider that any existing supervision after the offender's release from custody would not be enough to protect the public from serious harm from the offender. These "extended sentences" can be imposed in indictment cases on sex offenders or on violent offenders who would have received a determinate sentence of four years or more.)

Community sentences

f. Impose a probation order with or without various conditions including a requirement to do unpaid work.

g. Impose a community service order on an adult or young offender requiring him to undertake unpaid work.

h. Impose a supervised attendance order as a disposal of first instance for those aged 16 and above and currently being piloted in a small number of courts.

i. Impose a restriction of liberty order: a community sentence introduced by section 5 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997 and available to courts nationally from 1 May 2002.

j. Impose a drug treatment and testing order: a measure introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

k. Impose a community reparation order (being piloted since April 2005 in Dundee, Inverness and Inverclyde)

l. Impose an (criminal) antisocial behaviour order

Financial penalties

m. Fine the offender.

n. Impose a compensation order requiring the offender to compensate the victim of his crime for any resulting injury, loss or damage.

Other sentences

o. Order an absolute discharge (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure) or, following a deferral of sentence, make no order.

p. Admonish the offender or make an order to find caution.

q. Remit the disposal of a child to a children's hearing.

r. Make a guardianship order if the accused is suffering from mental disorder (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure).

s. Make a hospital order if the accused is suffering from mental disorder (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure) or order the accused to be detained in hospital if he is found to be insane and unfit for trial or insane at the time of the offence.

t. Make a compulsion order

D2. The court can impose more than one penalty in appropriate cases. For example, a fine or an order to find caution can be imposed in addition to a more severe penalty. Equipment used in the commission of a crime or offence may also be forfeited. However, the main additional punishments are generally disqualification from holding or obtaining a driving licence and the endorsement of a driving licence. The main charge in such cases is almost always either a motor vehicle offence or the theft of a motor vehicle. Disqualification from driving necessarily involves endorsement of a driving licence. However, for simplicity of presentation, the figures quoted in the bulletin for endorsement do not include cases where a disqualification also applied.


D3. The following symbols are used throughout the tables in this bulletin:




Less than 0.5


Not available

D4. The percentage figures given in tables and charts have been independently rounded, so they may not always sum to the relevant sub-totals or totals.

D5. Contraventions of the law are divided for statistical purposes into crimes and offences, crimes generally being the more serious. The classification of crimes and offences used by the Scottish Government for criminal statistics contains over 300 codes. These are grouped in this bulletin as follows.



(Also referred to as Violence)


Comprises murder and culpable homicide (including the statutory crimes of causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs).

Serious assault and attempted murder

Referred for short in the text as "serious assault".


Includes offences involving intent to rob.


Includes threats, extortion and cruel and unnatural treatment of children.


(Also referred to as Indecency).

Rape and attempted rape


Indecent assault


Lewd & indecent behaviour

Comprises lewd & indecent practices against children, indecent exposure.


Includes offences connected with prostitution, incest and sexual intercourse with girls aged under 16.


(Also referred to as Dishonesty)


Includes business as well as domestic premises.

Theft by opening a lockfast place


Theft of a motor vehicle




Other theft

Includes theft of pedal cycles.


Includes statutory fraud, except social security benefit fraud.


Includes forgery, reset and embezzlement.





Includes malicious mischief, vandalism and reckless conduct with firearms.


Crimes against public justice

Includes perjury, contempt of court, bail offences and failing to appear at court.

Handling an offensive weapon

Comprises carrying offensive weapons, restriction of offensive weapons legislation. (This crime category was previously included under the non-sexual crimes of violence group.)


Includes importation, possession and supply of controlled drugs.


Includes conspiracy and explosives offences.



Common assault

Also sometimes termed petty assault or minor assault

Breach of the peace




Breach of social work orders

Breach of probation, community service, restriction of liberty and supervised attendance orders.


Includes offences against local legislation, Revenue and Excise Acts, Licensing Acts, Wireless Telegraphy Acts / Communication Acts.


Dangerous and careless driving

Prior to 1992 this was known as "reckless and careless driving".

Drunk driving

Comprises driving or in charge of motor vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs, blood alcohol content above limit and failing to provide breath, blood or urine specimens.


Includes the small number of motorway and clearway offences, as these are mostly speeding-related.

Unlawful use of vehicle

Comprises driving while disqualified, without a licence, insurance, test certificate, vehicle tax and registration and identification offences.

Vehicle defect offences

Comprises construction and use and lighting offences.


Includes parking, record of work offences, neglect of traffic directions, failing to stop after accident and mobile phone offences.

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