Possession of a Prohibited Dog: Will I Go To Prison?
Possession of a prohibited dog is an offence under Section 1(3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
If you are convicted of this offence in the magistrates court, you will be open to a wide range of sentencing options ranging from a discharge to a custodial sentence. Other options include fines, community orders and suspended custodial sentences.
You can review the Possession of a prohibited dog sentencing guidelines
The Court will initially determine the offence category, which involves them considering all of the circumstances of the case to decide whether there is greater harm and/or higher culpability. The Court can only consider factors they are made aware of in mitigation, so instructing specialist dog law solicitors is important.
The Court will then be able to consider the sentencing starting point, before moving on to review any aggravating factors and hearing mitigation. Aggravating factors can include previous convictions, offences committed whilst on bail, the presence of children or other vulnerable people, ill treatment of the dog, impact on the community, failure to comply with current Court orders and the offence being committed whilst on licence.
The Court will consider the aggravating factors, mitigation and any factors that may suggest it is appropriate to offer a reduction in sentencing, including credit for a guilty plea, and will then determine the sentence imposed. Mitigation is any information that is relevant about yourself and your background, as well as the circumstances of the offence itself, that may assist the Court in imposing a more lenient sentence.
Our specialist team of dog law solicitors will work with you to create a strong mitigation file, including supporting evidence where appropriate, and this will assist you in receiving the most lenient sentence possible.
If you are convicted of possession of a prohibited dog, you can appeal against this conviction or sentence, and our dog law solicitors can help.