Please note: The following information relates to offenders over the age of 16. For Youth offending, please see Youth offending - general information
When the police become aware that an apparently illegal act has occurred, they investigate. If they establish that a crime has been committed, in most cases, Police Scotland press charges on the individual concerned and send the associated paperwork to the Procurator Fiscal.
Following Summary Justice Reform, in relation to a limited range of offences, Police Scotland have the power to impose "Direct Measures" such as:
The Procurator Fiscal also have the power to divert potential offenders from involvement in the court system by offering people charged with offences "Direct Measures".
If the Procurator Fiscal deems that an offence is sufficiently serious to merit the involvement of the court system, the Procurator will cite the alleged offender to appear at Court.
Appearing at Court
The Court which they appear before will depend on the seriousness of the offence. Most offenders will appear before the Sheriff Court or the Justice of the Peace Court, however those charged with serious offences, such as murder, will appear in the High Court of Justiciary.
We have Court Social Workers at Stirling Sheriff Court. If the alleged offender or their family require and advice or assistance prior to, or after, the Court proceedings, our Court Social Workers will be available.
Sentences and disposals
If people are found guilty at Sheriff Courts in Scotland, Sheriffs may require a Criminal Justice Social Work Report to be prepared by the Local Authority Criminal Justice Social Work department. A Bail Order, requiring good behaviour from the offender, may be imposed on offenders whilst reports are prepared and other information is gathered. Find out more about sentences and disposals.
The content of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, in combination with all of the other information available, will be used by the Sheriff to determine an appropriate disposal or sentence. Disposals can include:
- Fine or monetary penalty
- Community Payback Order
- Custodial sentence