Dangerous driving

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.
Motoring Solicitor, Speeding, Drink Driving - Moore Motoring Law, Nottingham, UK
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