Aggravated Vehicle Taking Offences

Closed 22 May 2024

Opened 21 Feb 2024


Why aggravated vehicle taking and other motoring related matters?

In 2023 the Sentencing Council published new and revised sentencing guidelines for a range of motoring offences relating to dangerous and careless driving. This was a wide-ranging package, but there remain several motoring-related offences for which guidelines do not exist or are out of date.

There are currently magistrates’ courts guidelines for aggravated vehicle taking offences involving dangerous driving, accident causing injury, and causing damage to vehicle/property. However, these were published in 2008 by the Sentencing Guidelines Council, the Sentencing Council’s predecessor body, and do not follow the detailed, step-by-step format now familiar to the courts. They also do not provide sentence levels for the Crown Court.

This consultation therefore seeks views on a comprehensive package of new and revised guidelines for aggravated vehicle taking offences, for use in both the magistrates’ courts and in the Crown Court. These are informed by, and intended to be consistent with, the motoring guidelines published by the Council following consultation in 2023. (The magistrates’ courts guideline for vehicle taking without consent (non-aggravated) was revised in 2017 and is out of scope of this consultation.)

A further guideline which dates back to 2008 and requires updating relates to vehicle licence and registration fraud. The scope of this offence has changed since the publication of this guideline to relate only to vehicle registration fraud, as tax discs (and therefore related frauds) have fallen out of use. The Council is consulting on a revised guideline for this offence.

Following the previous consultation on motoring guidelines, the Council committed to look at what further guidance could be given to the courts on driver disqualification. This consultation seeks views on a draft overarching guideline on disqualification. This covers when disqualification is available, the principles to follow when setting the length of a disqualification (including interaction with time spent in custody), and when exemptions may or may not apply.

There are also several other miscellaneous matters relating to motoring which have been raised with the Council, or which have arisen following the consultation in 2022. Some of these involve changes which can be made without consultation and are set out in the Annex to this consultation. Others the Council believes deserve consultation as there may be different views about their merits.

What is the Sentencing Council?

The Sentencing Council is the independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines which courts in England and Wales must follow when passing a sentence. The Council consults on proposed guidelines before they come into force and makes changes to the guidelines as a result of consultations.

What is the Council consulting about?

The Council has produced this consultation paper in order to seek views from as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of motoring offences.

However, it is important to clarify that the Council is consulting on the sentencing guidelines for these offences and related matters and not the legislation upon which they are based. The relevant legislation is a matter for Parliament and is, therefore, outside the scope of this exercise.

Through this consultation process, the Council is seeking views on:

  • the principal factors that make any of the offences included within the draft guidelines more or less serious;
  • the additional factors that should influence the sentence;
  • the types and lengths of sentence that should be passed;
  • the overarching guideline on how to approach imposing driver disqualifications;
  • whether there are any issues relating to disparity of sentencing and/or broader matters relating to equality and diversity that the guidelines could and should address; and
  • anything else you think should be considered.

We would like to hear from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We would also like to hear from individuals and organisations representing anyone who could be affected by the proposals including:

  • victims and their families;
  • defendants and their families;
  • those under probation supervision or youth offending teams/supervision;
  • those with protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

How to give your views

In the following sections the proposed guidelines are outlined in detail section by section and you will be asked to give your views.

The consultation paper is organised first by covering offence-specific guidelines related to aggravated vehicle taking offences and vehicle registration fraud. There is then a section on the proposed overarching guideline on driver disqualification. The last section covers the range of miscellaneous motoring related amendments mentioned above.

Age applicability

When issued as definitive guidelines these will only apply to offenders aged 18 and older. General principles to be considered in the sentencing of children and young people are in the Council’s definitive guideline on sentencing children and young people.

What else is happening as part of the consultation process?

This is a three month public consultation. During the consultation period, the Council will host a number of exercises to test the draft amendments and new guideline and consider whether any changes are needed. Once the consultation exercise is over and the results considered, a final guideline will be published and used by all courts.

The Council has also produced a resource assessment for the guidelines, along with a statistical bulletin and data tables showing current sentencing practice for these offences. The resource assessment, statistical bulletin and data tables can be found on the Sentencing Council’s website.


  • Businesses
  • Citizens
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Charities
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Government departments
  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Police
  • Prosecutors
  • Offenders
  • Victims
  • Legal professional bodies
  • Public sector
  • VCSE/Charity/Mutual
  • Think tanks
  • Academics
  • UK policy institutions
  • UK politicians
  • Journalists


  • Criminal justice
  • Law
  • Equality & diversity