Dangerous Driving Solicitors
Specialist solicitors and barristers in Death by Dangerous Driving cases
The majority of clients we represent for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving are usually ordinary law-abiding citizens who have never been involved in the Criminal Justice System before and understandably are stressed and anxious at the thought that they might be responsible for the death of another person. This is usually a very difficult time for the family of the deceased, the person being investigated/prosecuted and for the family of the person being investigated/prosecuted.
If you would like preliminary advice about the offence of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, contact one of our team on 0345 222 9955 or alternatively send a message via our Callback button below.
Funding a Case via Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI)
Sentencing Powers for Death by Dangerous Driving Offences
As the offence of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving is very serious, if a person is convicted or pleads guilty, the Court has the power to impose a custodial sentence (prison sentence) of up to 14 years imprisonment. The 14-year maximum sentence is likely to increase to life imprisonment over the next few years, as Parliament are seeking to expand the sentencing powers of the Court when dealing with cases of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. The sentence imposed by the Court will be based on the evidence, whether the matter progressed to trial and after considering all aggravating and mitigating factors specific to the case.
Statute – What is the law?
The offence of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving is contained within Section 1, Road Traffic Act 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.
Venue – Where a trial will take place
The offence of is indictable only, which means that the case will be heard in the Crown Court.
Elements of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
This offence occurs when a road traffic collision has resulted in a fatality (i.e. death). The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must prove that a death has occurred and that the death was as a result of dangerous driving.
What is Dangerous Driving?
The definition of dangerous driving is contained within Section 2A Road Traffic Act 1988. In essence, a person is considered by to driving dangerous if:
- The way a person drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and
- It would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous
It is rarely an issue to establish that a death has occurred because of the road traffic collision. In such cases, the focus of the police investigation/prosecution case will be on the ‘standard of driving’.
It is crucial to remember that not all fatal collisions are because of the driver. Just because there is a fatality, it does not necessarily mean that it occurred because of ‘Dangerous Driving’. An example is, a person could be carefully driving a motor vehicle, at the appropriate speed limit while concentrating on the road and nearby surroundings, when another person or vehicle might cut across their path, resulting in a fatal collision. This would not automatically place the surviving person at fault of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
The Police Investigation
When a fatal collision occurs, the police will seek to gather and preserve as much evidence as possible, as this will assist them in establishing whether the fatality occurred as a result of careless driving. It could potentially take the police several months to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collision.
It is important to remember that a person that has lost their life as a result of a road traffic collision, the police are under an obligation to properly investigate the full set of circumstances leading up to and during the collision.
As part of the police investigation, evidence will be gathered from witnesses, video footage, the vehicles involved, toxicology and evidence from the suspect via a police interview under caution. The police are also likely to produce a collision reconstruction report from specialist police experts.
If you are called to attend a police interview under caution for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, you should contact and appoint a solicitor to represent you at the police station. If you would like information about why you should instruct a solicitor to represent you at the police station, please click the highlighted link.
Decision to Prosecute
If there is evidence to suggest that the standard of driving at the time of the collision amounted to dangerous driving, the likelihood is that a criminal prosecution will be issued against the suspect.
Our specialist team of motoring lawyers have significant experience representing suspects and defendants for death by dangerous driving at the police station and the Crown Court. This is an extremely serious offence which can result in a significant custodial sentence (prison) and to ensure that the case is appropriately analysed and presented before the Court, it is crucial to have a team of experienced specialist motoring lawyers to protect and safeguard your interests.
Our solicitors and barristers will guarantee that your case is properly considered, and every aspect of the prosecution case is scrutinised in immense detail. In such cases we also instruct our own collision reconstruction experts say that we have a second opinion on the evidence and circumstances which resulted in the fatal collision.
The Impact of a Conviction for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
A conviction for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving can be life changing for both the victim’s family and the Defendant’s family. There is a very high risk that a Defendant convicted of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving will be given a custodial sentence and this will undoubtedly have an impact upon the Defendant’s family and dependants. It is therefore essential to have an experienced and skilled lawyer that has previous experience of such cases. Our lawyers have represented clients where criminal proceedings have been discontinued against suspects and have avoided custodial sentences being imposed on our clients.
Standard of Driving
When assessing whether to prosecute, the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will carefully consider the evidence surrounding the standard of driving involved. The police will seek to establish whether there is evidence to indicate dangerous driving.
Examples of driving which is likely to be perceived as dangerous include:
- Racing or competitive driving
- Disregarding warning from passengers
- Deliberate disregard of traffic lights and other road signs
- Failing to have proper and safe regard for vulnerable road users
- The speed which is inappropriate for weather or traffic conditions
- Driving while knowingly deprived of adequate sleep or rest
- Operating a vehicle while knowing it has a dangerous defect or poor maintenance
- Overtaking which could not have been carried out safely
- Driving a dangerously loaded vehicle
Vulnerable Road Users
Drivers encountering vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorbike riders, horse riders, pedestrians and those working in the road are considered as vulnerable road users.
You are expected to take extra care when driving near or passing any vulnerable road users. Driving too close to a motorbike, allowing the vehicle to mount the pavement, driving into a cycle lane or driving without the care needed near a pedestrian crossing are all considered when assessing your standard of driving. The court will use these to decide if the standard fell below what is expected and is considered dangerous.
Finding a Solicitor
Anyone being investigated or prosecuted for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving will need a solicitor to represent them during the police station interview and at Court. This offence attracts a prison sentence, and therefore your liberty and livelihood are at significant risk. Care should be taken to ensure that you instruct an experienced specialist solicitor that has considerable knowledge of this offence and has represented ordinary law-abiding citizens facing this prosecution.
At Kang & Co Solicitors, we are a specialist law firm established to represent professionals and ordinary people that have not been involved with the Criminal Justice system previously. We are not a Legal Aid law firm and understand this may be your first encounter with the Criminal Justice System. We know this is a challenging time for you and your family and we are at hand to assist, advise and represent as appropriate.
If you would like to speak to one of our lawyers about your case, please call 0345 222 9955 or fill out our enquiry form below.
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