What is Dangerous Driving
Dangerous driving is a relatively uncommon offence, but it is a very serious one. It’s not advisable for anyone who is facing an allegation of dangerous driving to try to represent themselves due to the potential penalties.
As can be seen below, even the least serious cases of dangerous driving resulting in a mandatory disqualification of one year. It’s therefore really important to get the best advice you can. We have experience in representing numerous clients faced with dangerous driving allegations, both in the Magistrates' Court and the Crown Court.
Sometimes, the prosecution opts for the more serious dangerous allegation of dangerous driving, when in reality the evidence points more to the less serious offence of careless driving (driving without due care and attention). Sometimes it’s possible to persuade the prosecution that careless driving is the more appropriate offence which means that the potential penalties are not as harsh.
In summary, dangerous driving means either of the following situations:
- Driving which is of a standard which falls far below that which would be expected of a careful and competent driver; and
- where it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
- If it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous.
Dangerous Driving is a very serious offence and can be dealt with either by the Magistrates' Court or the Crown Court. If convicted, the court must impose a mandatory driving ban of a minimum of one year.
However, the maximum penalty which may be imposed in the Crown Court for this offence is two years in prison, a fine, or both.
If you have received a court summons for dangerous driving you definitely will need to seek some advice. The allegation is extremely serious and if you are not entirely comfortable with court procedure and the law in this area, you may put yourself at a huge disadvantage. No amount of watching Judge Judy will prepare you for it!
If you're intending to defend the allegation, it's likely that you'll be facing an experienced prosecutor with a wealth of knowledge, which is likely to be extremely intimidating. Even if you're not defending the allegation, it's important to have someone on your side to present your mitigation clearly to ensure you get the best possible result.
Often prosecutions for dangerous driving will be reliant upon witness testimony and sometimes it can be one driver's word against another's. On other occasions, there may be a collision report or even a mechanical report. You need to ensure you know what to do with these if they are to help your case. In addition, there may be discussions or negotiations to be undertaken with the prosecution, which you'll need help with.
We will give you genuine honest advice about the prospects of the success of your case should you choose to defend it. Of course, the ultimate decision to defend an allegation is yours.
See also Careless Driving.
As well as standard allegations of dangerous driving, there are more serious offences. These include:
- Causing serious injury by dangerous driving;
- Causing death by dangerous driving;
- Causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs without a licence or another aggravating feature.
The above are extremely serious and almost inevitable result in a prison sentence upon conviction. The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years in prison.
We have successfully defended clients charged with these most serious offences avoiding a lengthy period behind bars. If you are facing any of the above, it is vital that you get advice at an early stage.