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Sentencing Guidelines: Dangerous Driving

Dangerous driving is one of the most serious driving offences for which you can be convicted, so there is no wonder that this offence can carry a harsh sentence. If you have been accused of dangerous driving, you may be feeling anxious and wondering what will happen next. It is important that you understand the sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving, as well as the options available to you.

On this page, we will talk you through the process of dealing with a dangerous driving charge, as well as the potential sentences that you could face if you are convicted.

What Is Meant By Dangerous Driving?

As set out in section 2a of the Road Traffic Act 1988, dangerous driving involves driving a vehicle in a way which falls significantly below the expected standards of a careful and competent driver. It goes on to say that a competent driver would be aware that the driving in question is considered dangerous.

In simple terms, this means that dangerous driving is driving in a way which could put your own or other road users’ lives at risk. A person could also be argued to be driving dangerously if they were driving in a vehicle which is in a dangerous condition and is not fit for use on public roads.

Some examples of dangerous driving from previous court cases include:

  • Racing
  • Aggressive driving
  • Ignoring traffic lights
  • Overtaking dangerously or undertaking
  • Being involved in a police chase
  • Driving whilst tired
  • Driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Knowingly driving a car with a serious defect
  • Drive whilst using a phone, texting, or eating

What is dangerous driving

Can You Be Charged With Dangerous Driving Without Being Involved In An Accident?

It is a common misconception that you need to be involved in an accident to be charged with and convicted of dangerous driving. It only needs to be proven that you were driving in a way that is endangering other road users and could potentially lead to an accident.

For example, you could be convicted of dangerous driving for driving your vehicle at an extremely high speed, even if no other vehicle is involved. If the Court can see the potential for a serious accident to occur as a result of your driving, you could be convicted of dangerous driving.

What Is Causing Death By Dangerous Driving?

Causing death by dangerous driving takes the dangerous driving conviction one step further, as it means that the driving in question has resulted in the death of another person. This offence is covered in section 2B of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

This is the most serious of all motoring offences and should be taken extremely seriously. The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years imprisonment, along with an unlimited fine and at least 2 years disqualification from driving.

Where Are Dangerous Driving Cases Heard?

If you are accused of dangerous driving, you might be wondering where your case will be heard. There is no straight answer to this, as dangerous driving charges can be heard at both the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court.

Which type of Court hears your case will usually depend on the severity of the charge. If your charge is severe, the Court may decide that your case must be heard in the Crown Court. This is because the Crown Court has higher sentencing powers.

In some cases, you may be able to decide for yourself which Court your case will be heard in. We would always recommend contacting a specialist motoring offence solicitor to talk through your options before making this decision, as the type of Court could affect the severity of the potential sentence.

Where are dangerous driving cases heard

What Is The Sentence For Dangerous Driving?

Dangerous driving is a serious motoring offence, so the penalties can be severe. That’s why it’s so important to understand the sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving.

The maximum sentence for dangerous driving depends on which Court your case is heard within.

Magistrates’ Court: If your dangerous driving case is heard in a Magistrates’ Court, you could receive an unlimited fine, along with up to six months imprisonment.

Crown Court: The Crown Court has higher sentencing powers, meaning that if your dangerous driving case is heard in a Crown Court, you could be handed a prison sentence of up to two years, along with an unlimited fine.

There are several different factors which will influence the sentence that is given for dangerous driving. These factors include:

  • Previous convictions
  • Previous driving record
  • Speed driven at time of offence
  • Offence committed during disqualification, without a valid licence or whilst uninsured
  • Consumption of alcohol or drugs
  • Disregard for road users or pedestrians

What Is The Difference Between Careless Driving And Dangerous Driving?

It’s also important to be aware of the difference between careless driving and dangerous driving, as it can sometimes be difficult for the prosecution to distinguish between the two.

Careless driving means driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. On the other hand, dangerous driving means potentially putting yourself or others in danger as a result of the driving.

Although both careless driving and dangerous driving are prosecutable offences, careless driving carries a much lighter sentence than dangerous driving. As an example, the penalty for careless driving is usually a 3 – 9 point endorsement, along with a fine. In contrast, dangerous driving leads to a 12 month minimum driving ban, an unlimited fine and potential imprisonment.

In some cases, a specialist motoring offence solicitor may be able to argue that the driving in question is careless, rather than dangerous, resulting in a considerable reduction in the penalty awarded. That’s why it’s vital that you seek expert legal representation for your dangerous driving case.

"I've been found Not Guilty - I would recommend Caddick Davies to anyone faced with a motoring offence."

Defending A Dangerous Driving Case

It is important to remember that every dangerous driving allegation is different. For this reason, the way that your case is presented to the Court can have a huge impact on its outcome, making it essential that you have a specialist motoring offence solicitor on your side.

At Caddick Davies, we will also aim to secure an acquittal for our defendant. We do this by really getting to know your case, inside out, and then combining this with our in-depth knowledge of UK motoring law.

In some cases, your solicitor may be able to argue that the driving was not dangerous, and instead was careless. Although this is still an offence, it carries a significantly lighter penalty than dangerous driving and could help you to avoid imprisonment or to greatly reduce your sentence.

Your sentence may also be reduced by arguing that a driving ban would have an impact on your personal circumstances. The Court could also be asked to take into account your individual character, along with your previous driving record in order to reduce the sentence imposed.

For the best chance of successfully defending a dangerous driving case, it is always best to speak to a specialist motoring offence solicitor as early as possible during the legal process. This will allow plenty of time for a strong defence to be prepared, giving you the best possible chances of acquittal.

Can You Appeal A Dangerous Driving Conviction?

If you have been convicted of a dangerous driving offence, you might be wondering whether you can appeal the conviction.

The answer to this is yes, you can appeal a dangerous driving conviction. However, this only applies if you pleaded not guilty in Court. Should you decide to lodge an appeal against your conviction, there will be a full retrial of your case. This retrial will take place at a Crown Court, where it will be heard by a Crown Court Judge, along with two Magistrates who were not involved in the original trial.

It is important to note that although there is every chance that the Court may reduce your sentence, there are also risks to appealing your dangerous driving conviction. If the Court feel that the appeal should not have been brought, they are able to increase your original sentence and make you pay the prosecution costs.

For this reason, it is vital that you seek specialist legal advice from an expert motoring offence solicitor before making your decision.

Getting your licence back after dangerous driving conviction

Getting Your Licence Back After A Dangerous Driving Conviction

If you are convicted of dangerous driving under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, you will be disqualified from driving. This disqualification will last for a minimum of one year, although in many cases you may be disqualified for a longer period.

After the driving ban has been served, you will then need to pass an extended driving test before you can regain your driving licence. This test is considerably more thorough than the standard driving test, so is more difficult to pass.

Get Expert Legal Advice On A Dangerous Driving Charge

A dangerous driving charge can leave you feeling worried about the potential penalties you may face, as well as your future. There’s no hiding from the fact that this is a serious charge, so you’ll need to have expert legal representation for the best chance of avoiding a harsh sentence.

If you’re facing a dangerous driving charge, it’s best to seek advice from a specialist motoring offence solicitor as soon as possible. This will enable the strongest possible defence to be prepared on your behalf.

At Caddick Davies, we are experienced in providing legal advice and representation for all types of motoring offences, including dangerous driving cases. We have an excellent track record of securing acquittals or alternative charges of careless driving, helping you to avoid the harsh sentences that dangerous driving convictions are subject to.

For a free no-obligation consultation, contact Caddick Davies today.

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Commonly Asked Questions About Dangerous Driving Sentencing Guidelines

Dangerous driving is one of the most serious motoring offences that can be committed. That’s why the penalties for dangerous driving are so severe. A dangerous driving conviction will trigger a driving ban of at least 12 months, along with an unlimited fine and even imprisonment.

If you are accused of dangerous driving, it’s important to ensure that you seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible, giving you the best possible chances of acquittal or a reduced sentence.

Dangerous driving is an extremely serious offence which can carry heavy penalties. The minimum sentence for dangerous driving is a 12 month ban from driving, an extended retest if you wish to regain your licence after the disqualification period and an unlimited fine.

If you are charged with dangerous driving, it’s important to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. Having a specialist motoring offence solicitor on your side can help to keep your sentence to a minimum and could even result in the dangerous driving charge being downgraded to careless driving.

If you are convicted of dangerous driving, you have the right to lodge an appeal against your conviction. However, it’s important that you seek specialist legal advice before you decide to appeal your conviction as there are some risks involved.

Although the Court may reduce your sentence as a result of the appeal, there is always the risk that they decide the appeal should not have been brought. This could result in your original sentence being increased and you being forced to pay the prosecution costs. For this reason, it’s essential that you seek advice from a specialist motoring offence solicitor before deciding whether to appeal your dangerous driving conviction.

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