It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle dangerously under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The offence of dangerous driving is more serious than the offence of careless driving and can be aggravated where the driving results in a person or persons being killed. If found guilty of the offence it can affect not only you but your family. In many cases a person’s job could be at risk if driving is an essential part of it. Given the serious nature of the offence and the consequences for your personal and professional life, it is important that if charged with such an offence you seek specialist legal advice. Here at Owen White & Catlin we have a wealth of experience in defending road traffic offences and can advise on the options you have available to you.
What is dangerous driving?
Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 does not provide much detail as to what is dangerous. As a result, wide discretion is given to the Procurator Fiscal on the report of the police to decide if the driving is serious enough to merit being charged with dangerous driving. However, it is important to note that while every case turns on its facts, there does not need to be death or injury caused to a person for the offence of dangerous driving to come into operation. Factors such as racing, ignoring traffic signals, intoxication through drugs or alcohol and dangerous overtaking would all be considered indicators of dangerous driving.
Furthermore, the competence of the driver or their psychological state at the time of the offence will not be considered when deciding if the driver has committed an offence. Instead these factors will be considered in the event of a guilty verdict when it comes to sentencing. These factors could increase or reduce the severity of any penalty.
Given the serious nature of the offence, there are penalties to match. As a minimum there is a one-year driving ban imposed. At the expiry of this period the driver will be made to resit their test. There is also the possibility of an unlimited fine and a custodial sentence of up to two years. The sentence can be increased where there are aggravating factors, such as injury or death caused to others or damage to property. In the event of death by dangerous driving there is a two-year minimum disqualification and a maximum 14-year custodial sentence possible.
Specialist Road Traffic Solicitors
Our team at Owen White & Catlin have years of experience in successfully defending those charged with dangerous driving. Our team listen to your side of the story and in the event of being found guilty will work to mitigate the effects any penalty could have on your family and work life. To discuss your case today contact us on 020 8890 2836 or fill out our contact page here.