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Death by Dangerous Driving Sentencing Guidelines

Death by dangerous driving is a very serious offence in the UK. According to death by dangerous driving sentencing guidelines, it can carry a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. This is why it’s so important to always follow safe driving practices.

But how is the final sentence determined? And what should you do if you are facing a charge of death by dangerous driving?

In this article, we will answer these questions and many more so that you understand exactly how the law works and the options available to you if you are charged with breaking it.


Facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


What is Death By Dangerous Driving?

Death by dangerous driving is governed by the Road Traffic Act 1988. It is defined as driving a vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place which leads to someone’s death. This can include speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, street racing, and more. The law exists to protect the public from drivers who put others at risk and so it is an extremely serious offence.

The UK’s Death By Dangerous Driving Statistics

In 2020/2021, there were 568 cases of death by dangerous driving in England and Wales. There were various reasons for these incidents including speeding, drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs and using a mobile phone while driving. All of these actions are illegal in their own right and so if you cause death by dangerous driving while doing one of these you may also be charged with that offence too.

death by dangerous driving trial

What are the Sentencing Guidelines for Death By Dangerous Driving?

The sentence for death by dangerous driving can range from a community order to 14 years in prison, depending on the severity of the offence. For example, if the offender was driving at high speeds, had a previous conviction for dangerous driving, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol then they are likely to receive a harsher sentence. This is because these things are all considered to be aggravating factors that make the offence more serious.

How is the Sentence Determined?

The sentence for death by dangerous driving will be determined by a judge based on several factors, including:

  • Any aggravating factors, such as previous convictions or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • The level of danger created by the driving – For example, was it a single incident or did the driver repeatedly put others at risk?
  • Mitigating factors, such as an early guilty plea or genuine remorse
  • The culpability of the offender – Did they know their actions were dangerous?
  • The age and experience of the driver – Was the offender a young driver with little experience behind the wheel?

What Happens If You Are Charged With Death By Dangerous Driving?

If you are charged with death by dangerous driving, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This is because the offence carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison and so it is essential to have experienced legal representation to give you the best chance of avoiding a custodial sentence.

Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action and will represent you in court. They will also be able to negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and may be able to get the charges against you reduced.

At Caddick Davies Motoring Defence Lawyers, we have years of experience defending drivers charged with all manner of motoring offences. We understand the law and the court processes inside out and will do everything possible to get the best result for you. The most important thing is you get in contact with us as soon as possible – the earlier we can start to build your defence, the better.


Facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


How to Choose the Right Lawyer for Death By Dangerous Driving

When choosing a lawyer to represent you in a death by dangerous driving case, it is important that you select someone who has experience in this area of law. They will need to be able to understand the complex legal processes involved and be confident in representing you in court. When interviewing potential lawyers, make sure you ask them about their experience in this area and whether they have a good track record defending these types of cases. If a lawyer doesn’t want to tell you about their track record or hasn’t defended clients in similar situations then it is best to look elsewhere.

At Caddick Davies, all of our lawyers are experienced in death by dangerous driving cases and have a wealth of knowledge to offer our clients. We will always give you honest advice about your case and will fight tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you.

Possible Defences to Death By Dangerous Driving

There are a number of possible defences to a charge of death by dangerous driving, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some common defences include:

  • The driving was not actually dangerous – This can be difficult to prove as it is subjective, but if there were no other vehicles on the road then it may be successful.
  • The driver had no intention of causing harm – This could be argued if the driver was driving recklessly but did not intend to cause death or injury.
  • The victim contributed to their own death – If it can be shown that the victim played a part in their own death, for example by standing in the road, then this may be used as a defence.

What Happens in Court?

If you are charged with death by dangerous driving, here is what will happen at court:

  • The case will be allocated to either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court, depending on its seriousness.
  • You will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  • If you plead guilty, the case will go to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set and you will have the opportunity to present your defence.
  • The sentence will be decided by the judge, taking into account factors such as the seriousness of the offence and whether there were any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
  • If you are given a custodial sentence, you will be sent to prison immediately. If you are given a non-custodial sentence, you may be given a suspended sentence or a community order.
  • If you are given a custodial sentence, you will have the right to appeal.

The victim’s family may also give a victim’s impact statement. This is when they can tell the court how the death of their loved one has affected them. All of this will be explained to you in more detail by your legal team. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action including whether to plead guilty or not guilty and will support you throughout the court process.


Facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


the importance of a lawyer

How to Get the Sentence Reduced

If you are convicted of death by dangerous driving, there are a number of ways in which the sentence can be reduced. These include:

  • An early guilty plea – If you plead guilty at the earliest opportunity, this will usually result in a reduction in sentence.
  • A good character – If you have no previous convictions and are of good character, this may result in a reduction in sentence.
  • Co-operation with the police – If you co-operated with the police during their investigation, this may be taken into account when sentencing.
  • Mitigating factors – There are a number of mitigating factors that can be taken into account when sentencing, such as if you were driving to get a sick relative to the hospital or if the victim was partly to blame for their own death.
  • A show of genuine remorse – If you show genuine remorse for your actions, this may result in a reduction of sentence.

These are just some of the ways in which the sentence can be reduced. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on what is likely to happen in your case and how best to plead.

Appealing a Sentence

If you are unhappy with the sentence that has been handed down, you may be able to appeal it. This must be done within 28 days of sentencing and will usually involve arguing that the sentence was too harsh or that there were mitigating circumstances that should have been taken into account. If you do decide to appeal, the process works like this:

  • You will be given a form to complete, which will ask for details of the grounds for your appeal.
  • You will need to send this form and the relevant supporting documents to the Court of Appeal.
  • The court will then decide whether or not to hear your case. If they decide to hear it, you will be given a date for your appeal hearing.
  • At the appeal hearing, you will be able to present your case and argue why the sentence should be reduced.
  • The court will then make a decision and if they agree with you, they will reduce the sentence. If they do not agree with you, the original sentence will stand.

This is a simplified guide to the appeal process and you should speak to a lawyer if you want more information. At Caddick Davies, our specialist motoring offence solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with appeals and can advise you on the best course of action whether we represented you in your original trial or not.

Other Serious Driving Offences

Whilst death by dangerous driving is the most serious driving offence, there are other serious offences that can result in a custodial sentence. These include:

If you have been charged with any of these offences, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. The team at Caddick Davies have a wealth of experience in dealing with all types of motoring offence cases and can provide you with the expert guidance and support that you need.

safe driving tips

How to Drive Safely

The best way to avoid getting into legal trouble is to always follow safe driving practices. These include:

  • Obey the speed limit – The faster you drive, the greater the risk of an accident.
  • Never drink and drive – Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive safely.
  • Don’t use your phone whilst driving – This can be very distracting and can lead to accidents.
  • Take regular breaks – Driving for long periods of time can be tiring and can lead to mistakes being made.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs – As with alcohol, drugs can impair your ability to drive safely.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good working order – If your tyres are bald or your brakes are not working properly, this can lead to accidents.

By following these simple tips, you can help to keep yourself and others safe on the roads. If you are ever in doubt about whether it is safe to drive, always err on the side of caution and don’t take any risks.


Facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving? Contact Caddick Davies Solicitors today 

Send us a message or call us on 0333 443 2366 for friendly advice


Final Thoughts

Death by dangerous driving is a very serious offence that can result in a fourteen-year custodial sentence according to the death by dangerous driving sentencing guidelines. If you have been charged with this offence, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The team at Caddick Davies have a wealth of experience in dealing with motoring offence cases and can provide you with the expert guidance and support that you need.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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