Dangerous Driving / Death by Dangerous Driving
If your case unfortunately involves a fatality then please contact us as a matter of urgency as our advice may differ from what is below depending on the individual circumstances of your case.
An offence of dangerous driving is “triable either way” which means that it can be dealt with by the Magistrates or the Crown Court depending upon how serious the allegation is. Regardless of what court deals with it, due to the seriousness of the offence there is always going to be a real possibility of a prison sentence.
What is dangerous driving?
Examples of dangerous driving cases are given below however the list is not exhaustive and the CPS may choose to prosecute in other cases:
- Driving aggressively or racing;
- Overtaking in an unsafe manner particularly undertaking;
- Knowingly driving an unsafe vehicle;
- Being distracted whilst driving e.g. smoking, eating, drinking, driving using a mobile phone;
- Causing injury to others; and
- Ignoring traffic signs and/or signals.
Dangerous driving sentencing
Each court has different powers of sentencing so the more serious cases will be passed up to the Crown Court to deal with. If your case remains in the Magistrates’ Court then the minimum penalty is still a disqualification of 12 months (with an extended and compulsory retest before you can get your licence back), a community order and a fine of up to £5000. At their lowest level, this is the penalty that the court is encouraged to impose so any aggravating factors in a case will immediately start to increase the severity of the penalty.
The maximum penalty that the Magistrates’ Court can impose is 6 months in prison and a 2 year disqualification in addition to the fine.
The trial venue is decided by a “mode of trial” hearing and if the Magistrates’ consider your case too serious for their sentencing powers to be sufficient then it will be passed to the Crown Court where you could face a two year prison sentence if convicted.
The defendant does have some say in where the case is heard and there are various factors to consider however sometimes the decision is taken out of their hands. The court process for dangerous driving cases is more complex than for most other motoring offence but our team at Olliers Motor Law have extensive experience in handling these cases.
Please contact us for a free consultation to discuss the options available to you.
Defending Dangerous Driving / Alternative Charges
The Crown Prosecution Service must be able to prove that your standard of driving fell far below what is expected of a competent driver. It must be obvious to a competent driver that your driving was dangerous.
If you do not agree that your driving was dangerous and you choose to defend the allegation then specialist representation is essential as there are various tactics that can be used during cases that can significantly increase the chance of success. Court proceedings can often pass the 12 month mark for these cases and our specialist team can guide you through the process and be on hand for advice and support.
Depending on the circumstances of a case, it is sometimes possible for us to convince the Crown Prosecution Service to lower the charge to one of careless driving which immediately lowers the severity of the penalty. Please contact us free of charge to discuss this in more detail with one of the team.
Fees for dangerous driving
Dangerous driving cases require extensive preparation and fees for representation will always be higher to defend this charge in comparison to other offences. We strongly urge you to check your motor and home insurance policies to see if Legal Expenses Insurance is provided as this can often cover you for our representation.
The team at Olliers Motor law represent drivers faced with these allegations on a regular basis and we understand that the severe penalties of a dangerous driving charge can have life changing consequences. If you choose to plead guilty, it is still hugely important to have representation in order to minimise the penalty and effectively “limit the damage”.
The court procedure can be extremely intimidating and for a fixed fee, we can prepare comprehensive mitigation, provide a specialist barrister to represent you at court and hopefully reduce the stress/pressure of having to deal with the case alone.
We are extremely successful in securing the minimum penalty possible with clients who decide to plead guilty and our representation may prove to be the difference between a prison sentence and a disqualification.
If you are facing an allegation of dangerous driving or death by dangerous driving, contact us on 0808 168 0017 or email [email protected].