Dangerous driving is one of those allegations that need to be taken very serious indeed. Dangerous driving is committed 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. Dangerous driving is an either way offence carrying a level 5 fine and/or 6 months custody in the magistrates court. In the Crown Court, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
If you are convicted of dangerous driving the court must disqualify you from driving for at least a year and order an extended retest under section 36 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. However,Where “special reasons” are found for not disqualifying the court must endorse the drivers licence with 3-11 penalty points unless there are “special reasons” for not doing so. This simple explanation of sentencing requirements will go some way to showing the possible complexities dealing with these cases to ensure you are not punished too harshly.
As there is no statutory definition of “far below” but “dangerous” must refer to danger of personal injury or of serious damage to property there are real prospects of expert solicitors having input to test the case against you as well as protecting you from over enthusiastic sentencing. It does not have to be the actual driving that causes a charge of dangerous driving to be brought. Section 2A(2) of the RTA 1988 provides that ‘a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous’. The level of skill (or even the lack of experience/skill) of a driver is an irrelevant circumstance when considering whether the driving is dangerous. This rule impinges significantly on those highly trained drivers to be found in the police, ambulance and fire brigade who are required to break normal rules in order to carry out their tasks properly. For them the ‘get out’ clause is that the CPS need to consider whether it is in the public interest to prosecute bearing in mind the likelihood that a poor decision will probably cause such drivers to refuse to speed etc.
Dangerous driving allegations can be brought for what would otherwise be a speeding matter if the speed and circumstances are such as to cause danger, if two or more cars are used for racing on the highway, deliberately driving at a person, the instances are without limit. If you are facing such charges or investigation you should take advice from the experts as early as possible. You ought not wait until you are interviewed as the questioning will be aimed at proving a case against you so you may not get an opportunity to ensure factors are discussed that might cause a different view to be taken.
Contact Daniel Bonich to discuss your needs and agree a fee structure to deal with this.