Tulisa Contostavlos, the popular singer, N-Dubz member, and lately Judge of X-Factor, was driving her Ferrari near Southgate Station last September when she collided with another car.
It seems that she “drove “on the wrong side of the road” and hit a vehicle which was carrying two people“. Police were called and Ms Contostavlos was breathalysed, being over the limit at the time.
For reasons which aren’t clear, Ms Contostavlos was not charged until 7th March 2016. Although she was originally charged with Dangerous Driving as well as drink drive, that first charge is not being pursued.
She was sentenced on 4th April 2016 to be disqualified from driving for 15 months, and was ordered to pay a total of £1,185 in ‘fines and costs’.
Comment – did she get special treatment?
It’s often the case that when celebrities get prosecuted, the general public think that they get more lenient treatment than others.
In our experience the opposite is, if anything, the truth. What do we make of the sentence here?
In the first draft of our post we said (sorry, too busy work-wise to do a full re-write):
The problem is that we don’t know the amount by which Tulisa was over the limit – this is the crucial factor in deciding the sentence (see page 124 Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines). The fact of a collision is a strong aggravating factor.
There is a wide range of sentencing options, from a Fine to Prison. Working backwards (as it were), from the level of ban and fine, it looks like the reading was around the 50-60 in breath.
The BBC report confirmed that the actual amount was 54mg, so (thankfully) this seems to work out.
We then said :
A possible breakdown would be a fine of £1,000, which gives a Victim Surcharge of £100, and £85 costs.
We’re pleased to say that, as the later versions of the BBC report confirmed, we got this spot on.
The starting point would be a Band C fine, a starting point 150% of the weekly income. With credit for a plea of guilty, this puts her income in the region of £1,500 a week. There is the obvious caveat that this is not a mathematical exercise however.
But, looking at this it seems that Tulisa was, as we would expect, treated as any other defendant who graced Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.