Dangerous Driving

What is Dangerous Driving

In order for the crown prosecution service to prove a case of Dangerous Driving, they would need to establish beyond reasonable doubt that your driving fell "far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver" and "that it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous".

This is a twofold test. In the first instance, the prosecution need to establish that the standard of driving was far below that of the reasonable driver. Secondly, they then need to establish that it would have been obvious to a competent and careful driver that in all the circumstances the manner of driving was dangerous.

Some examples of what may be regarded as dangerous driving include:

 

Racing with other road users;

 

Riding on one wheel of a Motorcycle "wheelies";

 

Driving at a speed in excess of 140mph;

 

Driving aggressively;

 

Passing or overtaking on the inside lane and weaving between lanes;

 

Ignoring of road signs and speed limits;

 

Driving on the wrong side of a carriageway;

 

Driving the wrong way on a one way road.

 

You should note that the above is not an exhaustive list and the circumstances can be very case specific.

I have been asked by the police to attend the police station for an interview in connection with dangerous driving. What should I do?

The first thing is to contact us. We will liaise with the police to arrange a suitable time for you to attend the police station with one of our own Police station interview specialist. As well as the complexities of road traffic law, you will also need to consider the complexities in police station interviews and police tactics in asking questions. Contact us today and we will call you back to discuss your case.

 

In addition, you should not underestimate what the allegation might be about. You may think you have nothing to hide and you have done nothing wrong. If this is the case, then you really do need us with you. In many cases, we can determine in advance, why the police want to speak with you and if there is no evidence linking you to any wrongdoing, we may be able to avoid you having to attend at all.

 

We will ascertain from the police why they wish to question you and discuss this with you first. Having made a thorough assessment, we will attend the police station with you. It is likely that you will be interviewed by the police under caution. The caution is a notification of your rights and a warning that a subsequent court or tribunal may not believe your account of what occurred if you fail to mention it when interviewed, if you later rely on that in your defence. What you say in police interview will have a profound effect on the rest of your case.

 

Depeding on the state and nature of the police investigation, there are a number of things that could happen after your interview:

No Further Action

The police could decide that they intend to take no further action against you in respect of the allegation. This could change later if further evidence comes to light.

Baied to Return

The police could release you from the police station to return at a later date. This is common where the police intend or are required to carry out further investigation before they can make a final decision as to what to do.

Charge you with dangerous driving or another offence

You could be charged with the offence of dangerous driving (and / or any other offences that the crown prosecution service believes would result in a realistic prospect of conviction.

Release and Summons

In some cases, the police may release you from the police station to be later summonsed for the offence of dangerous driving.

Charge or Summons for Dangerous Driving – What Happens Now?

You will have to attend court to answer the allegation. Contact us now and we will call you to discuss your options.

Once we have made an assessment of your case and advised you of the possible defences available to you, we will advise you on how to plead. The procedure in respect of allegations of Dangerous driving will begin in the Magistrates Court. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the allegation, Dangerous Driving can be dealt with in the magistrates court or the crown court, depending on the seriousness of the circumstances.

 

In the first instance, the court will determine where they think your case would best be heard. One of the considerations the court will have is whether they would have sufficient sentencing powers if you were convicted (or pleaded guilty) of the allegation of dangerous driving. In order to determine this, the magistrates would be told of the aggravating and mitigating features of the circumstances of the allegation.

 

The typical types of aggravating features most commonly found in allegations of Dangerous driving are:

 

  • Whether and to what extent the driver at the time was showing off

  • The Previous driving convictions of the driver involved

  • Whether there were High speeds involved

  • Whether there was an accident

  • Whether anyone was injured

  • How long the driver had been driving in a dangerous way

  • Whether there were any request by the police for the driver to stop

  • Any other offences committed at the same time

  • The condition of the car that was being driven

The court may also take into account any mitigating features of the allegation or the driver:

 

  • Previous exemplary record of driving

  • Absence of previous convictions

  • Short distance of travel intended

  • Momentary lapse of judgement or concentration

The above lists are far from exhaustive and our expert solicitors will advise you on all the mitigating features of your case and present them to the Court in the most effective and beneficial way possible.

 

Once the crown prosecution service have made representations to the court, it will be our opportunity to advance your preference to the court as to where your case should be heard. Having discussed your preferences before the hearing, we will make effective representations to the court as to why your case ought to be heard in the magistrates court and explain why. If you had decided on the other hand that you preferred your case to be heard before the Crown Court Judge and jury, we would simply advise the magistrates of this.

 

The court will then proceed to determine whether your case should be heard in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. If the court determines that your case is suitable to be heard in the magistrates court, then you will be given the opportunity of stating where you wish your case to be heard.

If you had previously decided based on advice from us that your case should be heard in the magistrates court, then the court will proceed to managing the issues in your case and set a trial date. If you had previously decided that your case should be heard before a Judge and Jury in the Crown Court, then your case will be adjourned and you will next appear before the Crown Court, either for a preliminary hearing or a plea and case management hearing.

 

Prior to your trial, we will assess the evidence against you and seek to adduce as much evidence as possible to prove your defence. This could include:

 

  • Expert evidence

  • Accident re-construction

  • Photographic evidence of the scene

  • Scene and road traffic conditions analysis

  • Expert weather and conditions reports

We will liaise with the Court, the crown prosecution service and the police on your behalf during the entire process. One of expert solicitors or barristers will represent you at your trial where through expert examination will seek to prove your innocence and exploit weaknesses in the case for the Crown prosecution service.

 

Many will advise you that to be found guilty of a charge of the road traffic offence of dangerous driving, the crown prosecution service must prove beyond “reasonable doubt” that you have been driving carelessly or without due care and attention. This is true, but rather than relying on the Crown Prosecution Service failing to convict you, we prefer to actively defend your interest. We seek to prove that you’re innocent rather than hoping that the crown prosecution service cannot prove your guilt.

 

Contact us now to begin the active defence against a charge of dangerous driving.

What are the penalties for dangerous driving?

The first thing to stress is that dangerous driving can result in a custodial sentence and you can be sent to prison for the motoring offence of dangerous driving. It is important that you instruct expert road traffic solicitors to prepare and conduct your case. Contact us now to see that we can help.

 

The actual penalty or sentence that a court can impose for dangerous driving can vary widely from case to case and will very much depend on the nature and circumstances of the Dangerous driving. The court will look at the aggravating features of the dangerous driving and balance them against the mitigating features of the dangerous driving.

 

In general terms, the courts will consider the following as aggravating features of the motoring offence of dangerous driving:

 

  • Whether there were High speeds involved

  • Whether and to what extent the driver at the time was showing off

  • How long the driver had been driving in a dangerous way

  • The condition of the car that was being driven

  • The Previous driving convictions of the driver involved

  • Whether there was an accident

  • Any other offences committed at the same time

  • Whether anyone was injured

  • Whether there were any request by the police for the driver to stop

The above list is not exhaustive and the aggravating features of dangerous driving will depend on the circumstances of the offence.

 

In determining any sentence, the court will also look at any mitigating features of the offence of dangerous driving. In general terms, the courts will consider the following as mitigating features of the motoring offence of dangerous driving:

 

  • Previous exemplary record of driving

  • Absence of previous convictions

  • Short distance of travel intended

  • Momentary lapse of judgement or concentration

If your case has been dealt with in the magistrates court and the Magistrates do not think that the circumstances of the offence are more serious than they originally thought, then the maximum sentence the Magistrates can impose is 6 months imprisonment (provided you are not facing other charges at the same time). The magistrates are also required to disqualify you from driving for the offence of dangerous driving for at least 12 months. This means that for dangerous driving your driving ban will last for at least 12 months and you could go to prison.

 

If your case has been dealt with by a Crown Court, then you can be sent to prison for up to 2 years for the motoring offence of dangerous driving. The Crown Court will also be obliged to ban you from driving.

 

In either case, where you plead guilty or are found guilty of the motor offence of dangerous driving, the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court must order you to take an extended re-test.

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