Relative in court today for benefit fraud. Sounds awful but this person was not living high life. Just made a mistake re partners savings. All money has been paid back. Has not had any money of her own for ages. Has had very little legal advice as I don't think she qualified for legal aid. Partner still has some savings although dwindling rapidly. Is prison likely or is fine/community service more likely?
Think that depends on the amount, how long its being going on for and previous convictions. It will also depend on how the bench are feeling on the day. If it is at the Mags they can't sentence for more than 6 months so if they do get prison and are well behaved they will be out in 3 months. If its a first offence a Community Order is more likely though.
Even if they don't qualify for Legal Aid all Magistrates' Courts have a telephone number where defendants can obtain free legal advice, or there is the CAB who may be able to help.
Thank you. Relative had spoken to CAB and had one meeting with solicitor. Obv just worried as I don't think they would tell me if prison is likely. Think it had been going on 2 years. Definately 1st offence.
It depends. He has obviously plead or been found guilty and they will do a report before sentencing. Some reports have custody as an option, others don't. If he has plead guilty early it will go in his favour, if there has been a trial and then he was found guilty the Court will look more harshly on this.
p26 here lists the maximum penalties for benefit fraud. It really depends on the amount she received. It looks like from that maximum sentence the repayment of money and an early guilty plea (if she made it) would work in her favour.