These offences always have big consequences, whether you face losing your licence or a prison sentence. The law is complicated and if you try to represent yourself, even where the case seems straightforward, it can be time-consuming and stressful.
We will provide fixed fee quotes for Magistrates’ Court motoring cases, so allow us to take some of the anxiety out of the situation.
When it comes to assigning a criminal lawyer in more serious or complex cases, we have close links with expert criminal defence solicitors and barristers in the field
Indictable Road Traffic Offences
Certain Road Traffic Offences are considered so serious that they may be tried by the Crown Court before a Judge and Jury. If you are charged or summoned in respect of one of these offences we strongly recommend that you engage the services of an expert criminal defence solicitor.
At Old Bailey Solicitors we have significant experience in defending the more serious road traffic cases such as dangerous driving, causing death by careless or dangerous driving, or wanton or furious driving.
We have close contacts with some of the leading expert advocates in road traffic law and are also experienced in instructing expert road traffic investigators.
Causing Death by Careless or Inconsiderate Driving
A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, is guilty of an offence. Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 2B
The main elements of the offence of causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving are that the defendant:
- Drove in a way that was either careless or inconsiderate;
- and that the driving
- Caused the death to occur.
CARELESS AND INCONSIDERATE DRIVING
The definition of careless and inconsiderate driving is set out in Road Traffic Act 1988, section 3, as follows:
If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence.
Section 3ZA of the Road Traffic Act defines Careless and inconsiderate driving in the following terms:
(1) A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if (and only if) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.
(2) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) above what would be expected of a careful and competent driver in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.
(3) A person is to be regarded as driving without reasonable consideration for other persons only if those persons are inconvenienced by his driving.
Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
Causing Death by Dangerous Driving is an offence that can only be tried before the Crown Court.
The offence is defined in section 1 of the Road Traffic 1988:
A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.
Usually the most important aspects of the offence are whether the driving was:
and if so whether the dangerous driving
caused the death of the victim.
The test of whether someone is driving dangerously is an objective one, in order to amount to dangerous driving the standard of driving must fall far below that which is expected of a competent and careful driver.
The speed of driving alone is not sufficient to establish dangerous driving but driving at high speeds may be dangerous in the circumstances of the case.
Examples of driving which may amount to dangerous driving include: racing, inappropriate speed in the prevailing road or traffic conditions, sudden lane changing, cutting into a line of vehicles, driving too close to the vehicle in front, ignoring traffic lights or signs, unsafe overtaking, driving knowing there is a dangerous defect with the vehicle, driving in a dangerous state such as through a lack of sleep, a medical condition or through alcohol.
The prosecution need to prove that the dangerous driving in fact caused the death to follow. The manner of driving does not have to be the substantial or a major cause of an accident as long it is a cause and is not so minor as to be irrelevant. The law states that juries do not have to believe that the driving was the principal or substantial cause of death as long as they are sure that it was a cause and that there was more than a slight or trifling link to the death.
More info to follow.
The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years imprisonment. The Court must also impose a ban of at least 2 years unless there are special reasons not to do so.