Being charged with a dangerous driving offence or causing serious injury or death by dangerous driving are serious offences which require expert legal representation from an experienced team of road traffic solicitors.
At Blaser Mills Law we are renowned for our meticulous preparation and the excellent track record of successful results in both defending charges and limiting the severity of the sentence where the defendant pleads guilty. If you have either been invited to the police station for an interview or have been summoned to Court then contact us immediately as we will be able to help you every step of the way until the matter is concluded to ensure the best result possible is achieved.
What is the definition of dangerous driving?
A charge of dangerous driving usually occurs where the level of driving witnessed puts the road safety of others and pedestrians in danger of serious injury. Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 describes dangerous driving as when ‘driving falls far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious that driving in that way would be dangerous’. The Act describes dangerous as meaning either danger to either of injury to any person or of serious damage to any property.
If the driving falls below what is expected of a competent and careful driver but is not classed as dangerous then the correct charge would be one of careless driving or alternatively called driving without due care and attention (Section 3 Road Traffic Act 1988).
Common examples of dangerous driving are when the vehicle is excessively exceeding the speed limit, ignoring road signs and traffic lights and the driver knows the vehicle is in a dangerous condition or has a fault. If the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is using a mobile phone or is distracted in any other way then this can aggravate the offence and result in a more serious punishment.
How serious is it if there is a fatality or someone has suffered serious injury as a result of me driving dangerously?
Causing death by dangerous driving (Section 2 Road Traffic Act 1988) is an indictable only offence with a maximum punishment of 14 years in prison and a minimum disqualification upon conviction of two years with a compulsory extended re-test ordered. The sentencing guidelines that a Court will refer to can be found here https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/crown-court/item/causing-death-by-dangerous-driving/
Causing serious injury by dangerous driving (Section 1A Road Traffic Act 1988) is an either way offence that may be tried in a Magistrates Court or Crown Court with a maximum punishment on conviction in the Crown Court of five years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum two year driving ban with a compulsory extended re-test. The limit on maximum sentences passed in the Magistrates Court is six months.
Will I receive a prison sentence for a dangerous driving offence?
Prison sentences are common in dangerous driving offences but the Court does have discretion in this regard. Here at Blaser Mills we have an excellent track record of defending serious road traffic charges such as dangerous driving.
Dangerous driving is an either way offence which therefore can be dealt with by the Magistrates Court or Crown Court however the majority of these charges will conclude in the Crown Court.
If the matter remains in the Magistrates Court then the maximum sentence could be six month term of imprisonment and an unlimited fine. The offenders driving licence would also be endorsed and they would be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of 12 months and the Court must order an extended re-test for anyone who is convicted of this offence. If tried in the Crown Court then these sentencing limits all still apply apart from the maximum term of imprisonment increasing to two years. The full sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving can be found here https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/dangerous-driving/
Can I avoid being disqualified from driving for a dangerous driving offence?
The Court should impose a minimum mandatory disqualification of 12 months for a dangerous driving offence. However, a special reasons argument remains open to you and if successful would result in penalty points on your licence rather than a disqualification from driving. A special reasons hearing is where the burden of proof falls on the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that a special reason exists. What amounts to a special reason is not limited by law but there are four minimum criteria that must be met in order for the court to accept that there are ‘special reasons’ for you committing the offence. A matter must:
- Be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance
- Not amount to, in law, a defence to the charge
- Be directly connected with the commission of the offence
- Be one which the court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence
Feel free to contact us today if you believe a special reason exists in your road traffic case as we have an excellent record in advancing successful special reasons arguments which have resulted in many of our clients retaining their driving licences.
We can offer a fixed fee service in order to represent you. This is preferred by many as it is clear from the outset the cost of instructing Blaser Mills to represent you. The fixed fee agreed would cover all preparation, emails, telephone calls and representation at Court for your hearing. Do contact us in order to discuss a fixed fee with one of our specialist road traffic solicitors.
Contact us today
Being charged or summonsed for a dangerous 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.