Following the completion of a pilot of the Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement (AAMR), section 76 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 will come into force on 19 May 2020 (UKSI no.478 of 2020).  Section 76 inserts a new section 212A to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“CJA 2003”), which empowers the court to impose an AAMR as a requirement of a community order or suspended sentence order.                            

AAMRs may be made for a period of up to 120 days and may:

  1. require an offender to abstain from consuming alcohol during the specified period; or
  2. not consume alcohol so that at any time there is more than a specified level of alcohol in the offender’s body

and the offender must submit to monitoring.  Failure to do so without reasonable excuse constitutes a breach of the order.

Compliance is monitored using a transdermal electronic tag, which measures the proportion of alcohol in sweat. 

The Court may only impose an AAMR if the following conditions are met:

  1. the consumption of alcohol by the offender is an element of the offence or the court is satisfied that the consumption of alcohol by the offender was a factor that contributed to the commission of the offence or an associated offence
  2. the offender is not dependent on alcohol
  3. the court does not include an alcohol treatment requirement in the order
  4. monitoring is available in the local justice area

An electronically monitored curfew may not be imposed for the purpose of monitoring compliance with an AAMR (see section 215 CJA 2003, as amended)

An assessment by the Probation Service should ordinarily be carried out to assess an offender’s suitability for such an order.

An alcohol treatment requirement will remain the principal means of addressing alcohol addiction in the community but an AAMR will provide a good alternative for anyone who needs to address alcohol use which falls short of dependency.  AAMRs add to the Court’s and advocate’s arsenal of alternatives to immediate imprisonment. 

John Oliver specialises in crime and extradition. John has particular experience in cases involving drugs, sexual offences (including historic allegations), serious violence and dishonesty. He has an interest in cases involving vulnerable defendants and witnesses and has been instructed in cases involving the use of intermediaries to assist defendants with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and those with mental health conditions.