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Maximum penalty in one court is 12 months and in the other it's life

Cases prosecuted in the district court are known as summary offences, where the maximum sentence that can be imposed for any given offence is 12 months' imprisonment.

Cases prosecuted in the circuit court or the Central Criminal Court before juries are known as indictable offences.

Despite the different terminology between the two, they can often refer to the same offence.

In the Circuit Criminal Court, sentences regularly range up to five years and, in some cases, life imprisonment. Trials on indictment are conducted before juries and generally take longer and are more expensive.

Most of these offences, however, can also be prosecuted in the district court when the DPP considers it appropriate. When this happens, the maximum sentence that can be imposed is 12 months' imprisonment.

Irish Independent