Dangerous Driving & Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
If charged with either of these serious Offences you need expert Legal advice as a matter of urgency and certainly before you make a Statement to the |Police. Both can carry substantial Prison sentences.
You will find that we will give you expert advice delivered in a sensitive manner if you face these Charges because we realise what impact they have on everyone involved and their families.
Your Case will normally be dealt with at the Crown Court if death or serious injury resulted from your driving. We may advise that as the best venue for your Case even if no death or serious injury was involved.
We will then
- prepare your Defence
- select and instruct an appropriate Barrister or one of our Advocates to represent you
- advise you as to your eligibility for Legal Aid
Legal Aid is usually available for these Offences and a Lawyer is essential given the Sentencing options a Judge will consider.
Dangerous Driving – The Law
The Law on Dangerous Driving is similar to that for Careless Driving.
Your standard of driving is important – for this Offence the standard of driving must be
- far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver
- and that it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous
The following are examples of what might be regarded as Dangerous Driving
- driving aggressively or racing
- overtaking in an unsafe manner – particularly undertaking
- knowingly driving an unsafe vehicle
- reading a map, smoking, eating, drinking, driving using a mobile phone or any other device
- causing injury to others
- ignoring traffic signs or signals
- excessive speed
Judges will look for factors that aggravate the Offence or possibly lessen your culpability.
Aggravating features include:
- whether you were showing off
- the nature and extent of your previous driving convictions
- high speeds especially over a long distance
- a course of bad driving
- a failure to stop for Police
Mitigating features include
- you were guilty only of a momentary lapse of concentration
- there was no recklessness or complete disregard for safety
- it was a single incident
Causing death by Dangerous Driving
If Dangerous Driving causes the death of another, then the offence of causing death by Dangerous Driving has been committed. The driving does not have to be the only cause of the death, if the driving is at least partially to blame.
The maximum sentence for this offence is 14 years in Prison.
You will also
- be disqualified from driving for two years
- and have to retake your Driving Test to regain your Licence
Very bad driving resulting in death but due to a momentary loss of concentration should result in a Prison sentence of less than 2 years. Longer sentences, of between 2 and 5 years, are to be expected where the driving was considerably worse than that and over a longer time period. Sentences of over 5 years are only usually handed out for driving which is extremely or blatantly dangerous.
Causing death by Careless Driving
Where death has been caused by bad driving, but that driving falls short of what would be classified as ‘Dangerous Driving’ the Prosecution may offer to reduce the Charge to causing death by Careless Driving. This is something we would investigate on your behalf as it may well result in your avoiding going to Prison.
So if you are facing serious Charges such as these do not delay contacting us for advice and support.