Facing a charge of dangerous driving can be stressful, especially if you have legal questions but feel you have nowhere to turn. Making contact with an experienced advisor at First4lawyers can help.
Dangerous driving is a serious offence that carries potentially severe penalties. In a court case, the prosecution must prove your driving was of a standard that a competent driver would recognise as being dangerous in order to make a successful case against you.
These cases can be heard in the magistrates’ court or the Crown court, and as such are known as an “either way” offence. By contacting First4lawyers you can be matched with a solicitor who can fight for you and build your case.
What is dangerous driving?
The law requires all drivers to be careful and competent. If your driving has fallen “far below” that level in the eyes of the law, you may be charged with dangerous driving.
This tends to happen in situations where people have been driving aggressively, racing, driving while tired, or involved in police chases. Other examples of dangerous driving might include:
- Ignoring road signs and traffic lights
- Overtaking dangerously
- Driving when unfit to do so
- Using a mobile phone or other distracting equipment whilst driving
- Knowingly driving a vehicle with a dangerous fault
Dangerous driving offences fall into two broad categories: driving without reasonable consideration for other road users, and driving without due care and attention.
The increase in drivers using their mobile phones whilst driving has brought about a rise in the number of dangerous driving cases going to court, with 21 per cent of motorists admitting to holding a phone whilst driving, and 10 per cent confessing to accessing emails, social media or websites at the wheel.
What are the penalties for dangerous driving?
The severity of the penalties in dangerous driving cases depends on factors such as how much the driver is to blame and the harm caused by the offence. They also differ depending on whether the case is heard in a magistrates’ court or Crown court.
If it’s at a magistrates’ court, it is being treated as a summary offence and the maximum penalty is either a level five fine of up to £5,000, or six months in custody, or both.
If your case is heard at the Crown court, you will be tried on indictment, and the maximum penalty is a two-year jail sentence.
All cases where dangerous driving has been proven lead to a 12-month driving ban and a compulsory driving re-test. Two or more driving bans within the previous three years will mean a two-year disqualification.
The specialist motoring solicitors at First4lawyers have a detailed understanding of the law and can help you mount a defence that gives you the best chance of proving your innocence, or reducing the penalties against you, if found guilty.
What are the defences to dangerous driving?
The term ‘dangerous driving’ covers a range of offences that vary quite widely in their seriousness.
A solicitor might want to know if there was any damage to other vehicles or property, or whether any risk of personal injury was caused by the driver. If not, then it might be possible to argue for a reduced penalty on these grounds.
A defence could also be strengthened if it can be proved that the person in charge of the vehicle was driving in a genuine emergency, the speed was not excessive, or if the offence was caused as a result of your inexperience behind the wheel, rather than any irresponsibility.
Penalties can also be reduced or dismissed if it is proven that a major hardship will be faced by the driver or that the police didn’t follow the correct procedures.
At First4lawyers, we work hard to establish the facts about your case, such as the above, in order to give you the strongest possible defence.
I want to dispute a charge of dangerous driving – what should I do?
If possible, contact First4lawyers before attending a police interview, if you are asked. Our solicitors might be able to assist you and the sooner you contact us the better chance we have when fighting for you.
Don’t feel you have to face the charge of dangerous driving on your own. Our motoring solicitors will be able to break down the details of your case and let you know exactly what to expect even how to plea in a case.
Contact us to discuss your options.