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Kang & Co Solicitors is a truly specialist high-end law firm providing legal advice and representation for all matters involving Criminal Law and Driving Offences. We are ranked as a top tier law firm by The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partner’s prestigous law guides.

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What are the Punishments for Driving Offences?

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Articles, Driving Offence Advice

If you have been charged with a driving offence and are pleading guilty or are found guilty after trial, the Court will impose a punishment (sentence). This article will briefly outline the potential sentence for a variety of driving offences.

Types of Punishments for Driving Offences

When a person is found guilty or pleads guilty, the Court will impose a punishment that is suitable and proportionate for the offence itself.

The Court can impose four types of punishment, these being:

  • A fine
  • Discharge
  • Community Order
  • Custodial Sentence (prison)

The most lenient type of punishment that the Court can give is a fine, while the most strict is a custodial sentence.

Punishment for Speeding Offences in England & Wales

A speeding offence is a low-level driving offence however, the Court will impose a punishment for any person who pleads guilty or is found guilty.

In speeding cases, all persons will have their license endorsed with either penalty points or a disqualification if convicted. These endorsements are not considered as punishment by the Court, rather they are ancillary orders. Simply put, ancillary orders are imposed with the purpose of aiming to prevent future re-offending.

Alongside an ancillary order, the Court will also punish the offender. This punishment is imposed as a retribution for committing a criminal act and is also used, like ancillary orders, as a way of aiming to prevent future re-offending.

The punishment imposed for speeding is a fine. When the Court impose a fine, they determine the sum to be paid based upon the financial circumstances of the individual. The Court will also declare a collection order, whereby the individual must pay the fine in full within a required time frame. Failure to pay the fine in full within the required time frame may result in further action taken by the Court, and may even result in further punishment if convicted for non-payment of a Court fine.

Starting Point
FINE BAND A - 50% of relevant weekly income
FINE BAND B - 100% of relevant weekly income
FINE BAND C - 150% of relevant weekly income
FINE BAND D - 250% of relevant weekly income
FINE BAND E - 400% of relevant weekly income
FINE BAND F - 600% of relevant weekly income
Range
25% to 75% of relevant weekly income
75% to 125% of relevant weekly income
125% to 175% of relevant weekly income
200% to 300% of relevant weekly income
300% to 500% of relevant weekly income
500% TO 700% of relevant weekly income

The table above is a guideline that the Court will follow when imposing fines that are reflective and in proportion with the offence itself. For top bracket speeds, the Court will usually impose a Band C fine. This means that the Court will calculate your fine based upon, on average, 150% of your weekly relevant income. This means that if your weekly relevant income is £500, the Court may fine you around £750. This estimation is not absolute however, as the Court should also consider your financial circumstances when calculating your fine. If you would like to know what banding of fine your speed falls into, please visit our page on speeding here where you can find a more in-depth table of the speeding sentencing guidelines.

Other driving offences where the Court impose a fine as punishment include Careless Driving, running a Red Light and Using a Mobile Phone whilst Driving.

 

Punishments for Drink Driving in England and Wales

A person is guilty of drink driving if the prosecution can prove that they were driving the vehicle at the time, and if at the time the person was over the legal limit of alcohol of 35 in breath, 50 in blood and 107 in urine. When a person is found guilty or pleads guilty to drink driving, the punishment that the Court can impose varies depending on the severity of the case and the reading of alcohol.

In all cases where a person convicted of drink driving, there is always a mandatory driving disqualification. This disqualification is an ancillary order and is not considered as punishment by the Court. The length of this disqualification depends on the alcohol reading, aggravating features such as a collision, injury to others or driving for hire/ reward, and if the convicted person has ever been convicted of an offence of a similar nature before. It is possible in some circumstances for the Court to offer the Drink Driver Rehabilitation Course to the offender and, if completed, the offender can receive a 25% discount off the ban that they are required to serve.

Alongside a mandatory driving disqualification, the Court will also impose a punishment of either a fine, a community order or in more severe cases, a prison sentence of up to 26 weeks. Again, the lower your alcohol reading and the less aggravating factors your case includes, the less likely it is for the Court to impose a punishment as harsh as a custodial sentence.

If a case of drink driving is deemed too serious for a fine but does not meet the threshold of a custodial (prison) sentence, you may be liable to receive either a low, medium or high-level community order. What determines whether a community order is low, medium or high is how many hours you are ordered to carry out.

Community orders are harsher than a fine and are dealt with by the probation service. This is where a person is required to carry out unpaid-work, rehabilitation programs or to abide by a curfew for a specified period of time. The amount of time required will depend on the severity of the case; the more serious the case, the harsher the community order will be.

The Court may punish by way of a prison sentence of up to 26 weeks’ if the case is deemed too serious for a community order. It is also more likely for a person to receive a prison sentence if they have previous like convictions (if they have been convicted of drink driving in the past).

With drink driving offences, expert representation will give you the best chance at receiving favorable outcome at Court. If you are facing a drink driving prosecution and require expert advice and representation from one of our specialist motoring law solicitors or barristers, please give us a call on 0345 222 9955.

 

Punishments for Dangerous Driving in England & Wales

Dangerous driving is a very serious driving offence therefore, the punishment that the Court can impose must reflect this (read more about dangerous driving). It is important to note that with dangerous driving, the convicted person will always be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of 1 year and will be ordered to complete an extended re-test.

If a person is convicted of dangerous driving, the Court usually do not consider a fine as punishment as the offence is deemed far too serious to be dealt with by way of this. Rather, the Court usually punish by way of imposing a community order or a custodial (prison) sentence. In cases of dangerous driving, the Court will usually only consider a medium or high-level community order to reflect the seriousness of the offence.

The nature of driving is important in cases of dangerous driving to determine the severity of the case and whether it meets the threshold of a prison sentence. Dangerous driving cases, like all cases, are initially heard in the Magistrates’ Court and while it is possible for the Magistrates’ to sentence offenders, it is also possible for the case to move up to the Crown Court. This will usually happen if the case is deemed so serious that the Magistrates’ do not have the power to sentence appropriately. If a case of dangerous driving does move up to the Crown Court, the Court can impose a punishment of up to two years’ in prison.

As prison is a realistic outcome in cases of dangerous driving, it is crucial that you seek expert advice and representation.

Below is a table of the sentencing guidelines for Dangerous Driving:

Examples of Nature of Activity
Single incident where little or no damage or risk of personal injury
Incident(s) involving excessive speed or showing off, especially on busy roads or in built-up area;
OR
Single incident where little or no damage or risk of personal injury but offender was disqualified driver
Prolonged bad driving involving deliberate disregard for safety of others;
OR
Incident(s) involving excessive speed or showing off, especially on busy roads or in built-up area, by disqualified driver;
OR
Driving as described in box above while being pursued by police
Starting Point
Medium level community order
12 weeks custody
Crown Court
Range
Low level community order to high level community order Disqualify 12 – 15 months
High level community order to 26 weeks custody Disqualify 15 – 24 months
Crown Court

In conclusion, the Court can impose an array of punishments, and these will always depend upon the severity of the case. If you have received a Court Summons or a NIP for a driving offence of any nature, please give us a call on 0345 222 9955 and one of our motoring experts shall certainly be able to discuss your situation and advise how can potentially assist you.

Do you require legal advice &/or representation?

If you are facing a driving offence prosecution and require expert legal representation at Court, call our lawyers on 0345 222 9955 or complete our Contact Form.

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