Frequently Asked Questions
What is the legal definition of dangerous driving?
Dangerous driving is defined as driving in a manner which falls FAR below that of a competent driver and driving in such a way that it would be obvious to a competent driver that there is a serious risk of personal injury or serious damage to property.
What is the difference between dangerous driving and careless driving?
The key differences are that the standard of driving for careless driving is simply "below that" of a prudent motorist, and there is no obligation to establish any actual or risk of injury/damage.
For dangerous driving, the standard has to be "far below" and it has to be obvious that there was a risk of personal injury or serious damage.
I was driving far in excess of the speed limit. The Police have told me I will be prosecuted for dangerous driving. Why is this?
There has been an increasing trend to charge for dangerous driving when the actual issue is limited to high speed.
This is partially as a result of less tolerance for speed and also the fact that cars and motorbikes are becoming increasingly faster. The Police will attempt to show that at speeds far in excess of the limit, there is a high risk of damage/injury and thus the offence amounts to dangerous driving.
Each case depends on its particular circumstances and what may have been too fast is not necessarily dangerous, if for example, the vehicle was under control.
The Police want to interview me and have alleged dangerous driving. Do I have to attend and should I have representation at the interview?
In theory, you do not have to attend but if you fail to co–operate, the probability is you will be charged in any event.
If you are arrested, then you do have to submit to interview but you do not have to say anything.
However, as the Police will point out, if you choose to say nothing, this could be held against you if you raise a defence at a later date.
Quite often, it does make sense to have a legal representative attend with you, but more importantly, you should seek advice before the interview.
That way, you can be fully prepared and in some circumstances, can take action which will either prevent the interview itself or result in a far more favourable outcome for you.
In order to discuss your case in advance of an interview, and to obtain advice on tactics, process and procedure, please use our Summary Telephone Advice Service.
What is the maximum punishment for Dangerous Driving?
For dangerous driving, the maximum punishment is 2 years imprisonment, but for causing death by dangerous driving, this can be as high as 14 years imprisonment.
For dangerous driving cases dealt with in the Magistrates' Court, the maximum term of imprisonment is 6 months but the Magistrates do have the option to refer the case to the Crown Court for sentencing, if they feel that 6 months is an inadequate punishment.
Is a driving ban compulsory as well?
Conviction for either offence will result in an immediate ban.
The current minimums are 2 years for death by dangerous driving and 1 year for dangerous driving.
For both offences, there is also an obligation to take a further driving test.