The offence is committed where the standard of driving falls far below that of the careful and competent driver and that the driving caused danger to other road users.
What are the penalties?
Individuals convicted of dangerous driving will be subject to a minimum penalty of a 12 month driving ban and an extended retest. In more serious cases, the Court may also impose 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 send cases to the Crown Court if they consider that their sentencing powers may be insufficient.
What is needed to secure a conviction?
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.
Careless driving vs Dangerous Driving – what are the key differences?
Unlike careless driving, a momentary lapse in concentration will not amount to dangerous driving as this will no be sufficient to establish that the driving was far below the standard required. Also, it must be proven that the driving was dangerous. Ie. caused danger of death or injury to other road users.
How should I plead?
If the evidence is so strong that pleading guilty would be the best option, then the importance of having the right legal representation cannot be overstated. It could be the difference between receiving a one year disqualification and a fine and a much lengthier one together with a custodial sentence.
In circumstances where the case against you is not as strong and there are question marks regarding procedure or the evidence of the witnesses then, again, you need the right legal team on your side to give you the best possible prospect of avoiding conviction.
Whilst some of your legal fees may be covered by legal aid, the pressures placed on High Street firms is such that they, by their own admission, they cannot always devote the same level of time and resources towards each cases as they would like. Kenway Miller Solicitors does not have a legal aid contract, however we will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome to your case.
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.
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).