Turning 15 can mean a court can impose a higher sentence on a child because children aged 12 – 14 years old cannot be given a Detention and Training Order unless they are a persistent offender.
If a child turns 15 after they plead guilty (or are convicted), but before they are sentenced, the court can only sentence them as if they were a 14 year-old.1They cannot receive a Detention and Training Order (DTO) unless they are a persistent offender.2
If a child turns 15 before they plead guilty or are convicted, the court could sentence them to a Detention and Training Order but the child’s age at the time of the offence must be taken into consideration.3 Courts must follow any sentencing guideline unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. 4
It can therefore be very important to avoid delay if a child is approaching their 15th birthday in a criminal case.
- R v Danga (Harbeer Singh)  QB 1996, R v Dennis Obasi  EWCA Crim 581 (back)
- Section 100(2)(a) Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. (back)
- Paragraph 5, Overarching Principles: Sentencing Youths, Sentencing Guidelines Council, November 2009, R v Ghafoor  EWCA Crim 1857. (back)
- Section 125(1) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. (back)