Alternatives to prosecution

In some cases, although the Procurator Fiscal may consider that is in the Public Interest to take action, prosecution may not be appropriate. In those cases there are a number of direct measures available:

Given a warning by the Procurator Fiscal.

Fiscal fines for crimes which can be tried in summary courts. These are normally for lower level crimes, and the fiscal fines can be up to £300. If offered a fiscal fine the OffenderSomeone who has committed the offence or alleged to have committed the offence. has 28 days to refuse to do so. If he or she does not refuse it will be deemed to be accepted and the order will be registered against their name. Fiscal fines are disclosable to the court for a period of two years.

Compensation orders for crimes which can be tried in summary courts. These are normally for lower level crimes, and can be made for up to £5,000. If offered the opportunity to pay compensation, the OffenderSomeone who has committed the offence or alleged to have committed the offence. has 28 days to refuse to do so. If he or she does not refuse it, it will be deemed to be accepted and the order will be registered against their name. Compensation orders are disclosable to the court for a period of two years, which means the court can be told about this on conviction.

Work orders are currently available in four pilot areas. They are available for offences which can be tried in a summary court. An OffenderSomeone who has committed the offence or alleged to have committed the offence. can be offered the chance to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work as an alternative to court proceedings. The offender has 28 days to accept the offer. Work orders are disclosable to the court for a period of two years.

Road traffic fixed penalties for certain road traffic offences listed in the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. These do not result in a criminal record.

Diversion from prosecution means the OffenderSomeone who has committed the offence or alleged to have committed the offence. is referred to someone who can offer support or treatment for the offending behaviour. This could be the social work department, a psychologist, psychiatrist, or some form of mediation counsellor. Various schemes are available across the country.

The police have the power to issue fines for some offences without referring the case to the Fiscal. These are called fixed penalty notices.