Leniency introduced in TV licence fee evasion?

20 February 2017

The least serious cases of TV licence fee evasion will no longer result in a fine.

Guidance issued by the Government allows magistrates to impose non-financial penalties on those who have failed to pay their TV licence fees, as long as they do not commit another offence. This will be known as "conditional discharge."

Conditional discharge will only be available to those who have made significant efforts to pay their TV licence fee.

A TV Licensing spokesman warns against individuals thinking they can avoid payment, stating that the new penalty would only apply in a "very limited number of circumstances." 

Malcolm Richardson, national chairman of the Magistrates Association, said it was essential magistrates had effective guidelines to help them give "fair and proportionate" sentences.

Sentencing Guidelines outline that magistrates can consider a number of factors in determining 'culpability' in order to assess the penalty that should be given. Higher culpability may be determined by failure to attempt to obtain a TV licence, possessing additional subscription television service and attempts being made to evade detection. Factors indicating 'lower culpability' include confusion of responsibility, significant efforts made to be licensed and licence being immediately obtained. 

At Gepp Solicitors, we have been defending clients on all aspects of criminal matters for generations. If you or someone you know has been arrested or have been asked to attend a police station it is vital you receive the best representation available. 

Please contact our specialist Crime Team on either 01245 228114 or bricer@gepp.co.uk.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.