An allegation of careless driving, also known as inconsiderate driving or driving without due care and attention, can only succeed if the prosecution prove that your driving fell below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver; or that you did not show reasonable consideration for other pedestrians and vehicles on the road.
This offence can warrant a disqualification from driving so it is important that you contact us for expert legal advice and representation in the Magistrates Court and Crown Court.
Will I be disqualified from driving for a careless driving offence?
Unlike a drink driving offence, should a defendant plead guilty or be found guilty for an offence of careless driving then the Court have the power to either endorse the driving licence with penalty points or issue a period of disqualification. The sentence depends on the level of culpability of the offender and the harm caused to other road users and vehicles. Factors indicating higher culpability would be if the vehicle was travelling at high speed, runs a red light or the offender was using a mobile phone while driving at the time of the incident. Factors indicating greater harm would be if there was evidence of damage to other vehicles, property or other people. An unlimited fine will also be part of the punishment and this is usually either a Band A, B or C fine again relating to the seriousness of the offence. The sentencing guidelines that the Court will refer to when sentencing an offender can be found here https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/careless-driving-drive-without-due-care-and-attention-revised-2017/
What is the definition of a careful and competent driver?
Section 3 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 sets out the offence however there is no definition in law as to what behaviour amounts to falling below the careful and competent driver test. There is case law which suggests that even making slight contact with a parked vehicle in a car park can fall below this test as this manner of driving cannot be deemed as reasonable. Each case is judged on its own circumstances and that is why it is important to contact us if you receive a charge of careless driving and subsequently a date to attend Court. The letter that usually arrives confirming a charge for this offence will be titled MG4E postal requisition. The police where appropriate may deal with a careless driving offence by way of a conditional offer of fixed penalty which would involve the offender receiving a fixed penalty notice in the post. If accepted then this would avoid a Court hearing altogether.
I have been charged with careless driving but they have also added offences of failing to stop after an accident and failing to report the accident. Why is this?
It is extremely common for other offences to be charged alongside a careless driving charge or as an alternative to another offence. Should the police witness a vehicle travelling at high speed they would usually charge the offender for these offences. However, if they don’t have recorded proof of the speed on a calibrated speed device then it is common for the driver to be charged with this offence as an alternative. The majority of careless driving offences involve some type of collision occurring. The law requires all road users to stop at the scene of any collision (Section 170 (2) Road Traffic Act 1988) with any other vehicle in order to exchange details with the other driver and then report this collision to the police within 24 hours of it happening (Section 170 (6)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988. Both failing to stop and report offences can result in the Court punishing the offender with up to six months imprisonment.
What if there is a fatality as a result of me driving in a careless, inconsiderate or dangerous manner?
Causing death by careless driving is one of a pool of motoring offences which can result in the offender being sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years. Although this offence as well as dangerous driving are both triable either way offences, it is common for Magistrates to decline jurisdiction in these matters and for them to be resolved in the Crown Court. The offence of causing death by dangerous driving is in fact an indictable only offence and would therefore definitely be concluded in the Crown Court and can result in a maximum sentence of fourteen years imprisonment.
Should you be required to attend the police station for an interview under caution or be summoned to the Magistrates Court for any road traffic offence then do feel free to contact us immediately. We can arrange an initial free consultation with one of our expert road traffic solicitors who have an excellent track record in cases involving allegations of careless driving and similar driving offences.
How will a careless driving conviction be recorded on my driving licence?
A careless driving offence will show on a driving licence checker as a CD10 and will remain on the driving licence for a period of three live years from the date of the offence and a further expired year so in total four years until it is removed. Details on the codes for some offences and the range of punishment for these offences can be found here https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements/endorsement-codes-and-penalty-points
This will of course have car insurance cost implications and this will depend on the insurance provider as well as the severity of the punishment by the Court. Should penalty points on your licence already be showing as live and points received for this offence takes the total on the driving licence to twelve or more, then the Court should disqualify the offender for a minimum period of six months under the ‘Totting-up’ provisions (S.35 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988). If you face this predicament then do call us immediately as there are ways to avoid this which include making an argument for ‘exceptional hardship’ which if successful could avoid a driving ban altogether. It is also very important to remember that if you have had your full driving licence for less than two years at the time of any road traffic offence then you would have your licence revoked if you receive 6 penalty points or more. This is known as the new driver provisions and forms part of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. A revocation of a licence would require that person to pass their practical and theory tests again in order to be able to regain their full licence.
Contact us today
Being charged or summonsed for a careless driving offence should not be taken lightly. Acting quickly to get an expert team on your side can help minimise the disruption and uncertainty. Get in touch to set up a meeting today.