If you have recently been charged with Dangerous Driving under Section 2 Road Traffic Act 1988, understandably you will be concerned about whether you will go to prison for the offence. In this short article, a specialist motoring defence solicitor will answer this very question.
Dangerous Driving Offence
A prosecution for Dangerous Driving is a serious matter, and a person charged with this offence, should always seek tailored legal advice for their case at an early stage, so that the correct decisions are made, which will ultimately benefit the person charged. Our specialist Driving Offence Solicitors frequently advise and represent clients charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and Dangerous Driving throughout England and Wales on a regular basis. If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers regarding legal representation, please call us on 0345 222 9955 or complete our Contact Form.
Dangerous Driving Sentence
If a person is found guilty after trial or enters a guilty plea the Court has the power to impose a prison sentence of up to 2 years. It is important to appreciate that the Court has the power to impose a prison sentence of up to 2 years, it does not necessarily mean that the Court will impose a custodial sentence.
There are several factors which will be taken into account when the Court imposes sentence, and whether that sentence should be a custodial one.
The Court will take into consideration the following:
- Any aggravating features;
- The mitigation put forward by your Barrister;
- Previous convictions (if any)
- Victim impact statements (if any)
- Credit (if applicable)
- Character References
When imposing sentence, the Court will take into consideration the above factors, and will consider them alongside the Sentencing Guidelines (table below).
Examples of nature of activity
Single incident where little or no damage or risk of personal injury but offender was disqualified driver
Incident(s) involving excessive speed or showing off, especially on busy roads or in built-up area, by disqualified driver;
Driving as described in box above while being pursued by police
Credit for a Guilty Plea
If you are facing a prosecution for this offence, you should also be aware of the concept of ‘credit for an early guilty plea’. This article is not intended to influence you to plead guilty, it is designed to make you aware of how the Court applies credit if a person decides to enter a guilty plea.
The starting position is that you should not plead guilty to an offence you have not committed.
If, however you decide to plead guilty, the Court will apply some credit (a reduction) to your sentence (punishment) for pleading guilty. In simple terms, this means that if you plead guilty the Court will apply a more lenient sentence. The amount of credit applied to the sentence will depend upon at what stage of the proceedings a guilty plea is entered.
If you are found guilty and convicted after a trial (you did not enter a guilty plea), you do not receive any credit off your sentence. The difference between pleading guilty and being found guilty is that a person pleading guilty admits and accepts they committed the offence, a person found guilty is convicted after trial. Credit is only applied to a sentence if a person pleads guilty.
The Court applies credit to the sentence because an acceptance of guilt:
- Normally reduces the impact of the crime upon victims;
- Saves victims and witnesses from having to testify; and
- Is in the public interest in that it saves public time and money on investigations and trials.
Guilty plea indicated at the first stage of the proceedings
If a guilty plea is indicated at the first stage of proceedings, you will receive the maximum credit available and a reduction of 33% should be applied to the sentence. The first stage will normally be the first hearing at which a plea or indication of plea is sought and recorded by the Court.
Guilty plea indicated after the first stage of proceedings
After the first stage of the proceedings (the First Court Hearing) the maximum level of credit will be 25%. Thereafter the level of credit decreases on a sliding scale from 25% down to 0%.
If a person progresses their cases to trial and if unsuccessful (found guilty after trial) the possibility of receiving a prison sentence increases therefore, a person charged with this offence should only progress the matter to trial if they have reasonable prospects of success.
Private Fixed Fee Representation at Court
Given there is a risk of receiving a custodial sentence (prison sentence) it is crucial to receive accurate specialist advice as soon as possible so that the correct course of action is taken. As a specialist law firm, we frequently advise and represent clients for the full range of motoring offences on agreed fixed fees. Please complete our contact form or call us on 0345 222 9955 if you would like to appoint one of our lawyers to represent you at Court.