Dangerous driving is a criminal offence under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, and is also known as reckless driving. The law simply states that a driver is deemed to have committed the offence when the driver drives a vehicle recklessly.
Under common law (the legal system of England and Wales) the definition of what constitutes dangerous driving depends on past court decisions. Each case must therefore be compared to past cases of dangerous driving in order to realistically asses the liability of the defendant.
What is the process of after conviction?
Once a defendant is convicted of dangerous driving the Crown Prosecution Service specifies particular aggravating and mitigating factors in order to decide on a sentence.
Some of the aggravating factors are fairly predictable; for example driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Other aggravating factors are less obvious and include driving badly and ignoring passengers’ warnings, distracted driving (using a mobile phone or reading) and driving whilst being extremely tired.
Additionally, the result of the driving is a factor (i.e. a fatal accident will be considered an aggravating factor). The mitigating factors include mostly character issues such as a clean driving record, expressing remorse and a timely guilty plea, although an injury to the driver caused by their own dangerous driving is also considered to be a mitigating factor.
If you have been accused of dangerous driving you should seriously consider hiring a specialist solicitor. Entering into criminal proceedings without professional representation can result in an unjust criminal conviction. Motoring solicitors can help ensure that you are provided with the best and most appropriate defence.
If you would like to obtain legal advice on dangerous driving, Caven can put you in touch with a local criminal / traffic solicitor free of charge, or view our motoring page. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local criminal / traffic solicitors please call us on 0800 046 1464 or complete the web-form above.