Individuals convicted of dangerous driving will be subject to a minimum penalty of a 12 month driving ban and an extended re-test. In more serious cases, the Court may also impose a custodial sentence of up to 2 years..
In order for a conviction of dangerous driving to be secured, the prosecution must prove that the accused’s standard of driving fell FAR below that of a careful and competent driver and that it would have been obvious to an onlooker that the driving caused danger to other road users.
To secure a conviction for dangerous driving, the prosecution must prove that the manner of driving fell far below the standard of the competent and careful driver and that it would be obvious that driving in that way would be dangerous. Whether driving is considered careless or dangerous is a matter of fact and degree.
Individuals found guilty of dangerous driving can be given a custodial sentence of up to 2 years in prison. Those found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving may be handed a custodial sentence of up to 14 years in prison. The maximum prison sentence for cases of dangerous driving heard in the Magistrates Court is six months, but the Magistrates have the option to refer cases to the Crown Court if they regard their sentencing powers would not be sufficient.
If you are accused of dangerous driving it may be possible, with the right legal representation, to persuade the prosecution to accept a plea to careless driving. Where a person is tried for dangerous driving the Court also has the power to convict them of the lesser charge should it not be satisfied that the driving was dangerous but is satisfied it was careless. Careless driving carries less severe penalties and, unlike dangerous driving, does not carry a mandatory disqualification but in the majority of cases will attract penalty points.
The offence carries a minimum disqualification of 12 months. An extended retest will also be required before the disqualification ends.
Cases involving grossly excessive speed will sometimes be charged as careless of dangerous driving. In such cases, the Police will endeavour to prove that driving at such speeds was dangerous based on the particular circumstances of the case (for example if the speeds were achieved in built up areas where pedestrians were present).