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Dangerous & careless driving solicitors
There is a significant difference between careless driving and dangerous driving, as well as causing death by careless driving and causing death by dangerous driving.
These differences are reflected in the sentences commonly handed down for each, although with the right representation, it may be possible to achieve a significant reduction in the severity of the punishment.
Known as driving without due care and attention, this means that the standard of your driving fell below that of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver. This can include undertaking, driving too close to another vehicle or doing something in the vehicle, such as changing a CD or reading a map, which distracts your attention from the road.
Careless driving cases are dealt with in the magistrates’ court. The seriousness of this offence varies, and, as such, can be punished by anything from three to nine penalty points on your licence, as well as a fine. As the accumulation of 12 penalty points over any three-year period will lead to you being disqualified from driving, it is vital that you seek specialist legal advice and representation.
Causing death by careless driving is a relatively new offence, which carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months. If you find yourself facing such a charge then you should seek legal representation immediately, as drivers in such cases are likely to be interviewed under caution.
Dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving are the two most serious road traffic offences and can often result in imprisonment and disqualification from driving.
To be classed as dangerous, your driving must have fallen far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver and be clearly dangerous to a competent and careful driver.
Dangerous means there is a danger of physical injury or serious damage to property as a result of your actions. The offence can be committed by simply driving dangerously or driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition, even if you are driving carefully. Dangerous driving can be dealt with in either the magistrates’ or Crown Court. The maximum sentence for dangerous driving is two years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a driving disqualification, as well as a requirement to retake your driving test to regain your licence.
Death by Dangerous Driving
Being involved in any road traffic collision can be a very distressing time, even if your actions are not to blame.
This intensifies when there is a fatality as a direct result of the collision. With your mind elsewhere, your last focus will be on a police interview but this is when you need to have your rights protected. What you say in the interview could make the difference between being prosecuted or being released without proceedings being instigated.
It is crucial that you obtain relevant advice from experienced, specialist solicitors. How a matter proceeds is largely dependant on what is said in the initial stages of the investigation.
The maximum sentence for the offence of death by dangerous driving is one of 14 years imprisonment which increased from 10 years in 2003. A mandatory 2 year disqualification also follows conviction, with a requirement to take an extended retest. If charged, this is a matter that can only be dealt with at the Crown Court and our specialist team can assist you from the investigation stages at the Police Station right the way through to trial at the Crown Court. Such assistance could be in the form of securing a lesser charge of death by careless driving, reducing the risk of a prison sentence being imposed.
Highly skilled Experts are invaluable in cases of this nature and their evidence can be pivotal in determining whether you are acquitted (found not guilty) or convicted. We can assist in selecting the right Expert for you and your case and assist in obtaining funding to instruct them.
By sharing the burden of such a serious matter with us, you can be assured that you are in capable, expert hands, preparing and representing your case at a most difficult time.
There is sometimes a fine line between death by dangerous driving and death by careless driving, which carries a lesser sentence. At Minton Morrill, our road traffic specialists can negotiate with the prosecution for the lesser charge, where appropriate. In such cases, a well-handled guilty plea can result in a non-custodial sentence. Every case is different, so it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure the best possible representation. The driver is likely to be interviewed under caution, so needs representation at this stage.
The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is a 14-year prison term and an unlimited fine, as well as a driving ban of at least two years, with the requirement to retake your driving test to regain your licence.
To find out how our road traffic offence solicitors in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Yorkshire and the wider North of England can help you, please contact us.
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