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A guide to how indecent images cases are sentenced in the UK

The Courts follow defined sentencing guidelines for indecent images offences, among other factors the sentence will vary depending on:


  • The number of images or videos

  • The category of images depicted

  • The type of action taken to either make, possess, distribute or produce the images.


Where custodial sentences are indicated please be aware that the court has the power to suspend custodial sentences of up to 2 years. Also, you can get a reduction of up to one third on the expected sentence by pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.


Making or possession of indecent images

Making or possessing category A images has a starting point of 12 months in custody.


Making or possessing category B images has a starting point of 6 months in custody.


Making or possessing category C images has a starting point of a high level community order.


Distribution of indecent images

Distributing category A images has a starting point of 3 years in custody.


Distributing category B images has a starting point of 12 months in custody.


Distributing category C images has a starting point of 13 weeks in custody.


Production of indecent images

Production of category A images has a starting point of 6 years in custody.


Production of category B images has a starting point of 2 years in custody.


Production of category C images has a starting point of 18 months in custody.


Some firms will scare you with risks of prison sentences, I do not think that is fair, it also distracts you from focusing on dealing with your case in a proactive and productive fashion. Despite the sentencing guidelines I would advise that for straightforward possession of images an immediate custodial sentence is highly unlikely, the most likely sentence would be a community order or suspended sentence. Unless your case includes the production or distribution of category A images I would suggest that a suspended sentence is achievable with good legal advice and case preparation.


Please see my other blogs that explain making, possession, distribution and production of images and how indecent images are categorised.


If you need specific advice on your case, please contact me or book an appointment.


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