What is dangerous driving ?
It is an offence when a person’s:
- standard of driving falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and
- it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
What is the difference between dangerous driving and careless driving ?
Careless driving occurs when a person’s standard of driving falls below the standard of driving expected of a competent and careful driver so there is a qualitative distinction between the two offences with careless driving being less serious than dangerous driving.
Examples of dangerous driving:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Overtaking on a solid white line
- Grossly excessive speed.
What are examples of defences to dangerous driving ?
- The driving was not dangerous
- The incident happened on private property.
Where can the offence be dealt with ?
It can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court because it is an ‘either way’ offence.
What if the elements of the offence are not made out ?
You may have a defence to the charge.
What are the likely penalties ?
This will depend on:
- how far your driving fell below the standard of driving
- any aggravating or mitigating features making the offence more or less serious
- any personal mitigation
- whether or not you pleaded guilty to the offence
- the Court will be referred to the Sentencing Guidelines and if the Court departed from the Guidelines they would need to give reasons in court.
What is the maximum penalty ?
- Maximum when tried in the Magistrates Court – up to 6 months’ imprisonment
- Maximum when tried in the Crown Court – up to 2 years’ imprisonment
- Obligatory disqualification for a minimum of 12 months with a requirement to do an extended re-test.
When would I need help from a solicitor ?
- If you have a defence
- If you are unsure whether the elements of the offence are made out
- If there are special reasons not to endorse your licence or disqualify you from driving
- If you do not know what the guidelines are
- If you think you should not be dealt with in accordance with the guidelines
- If you do not want to represent yourself in court.