Advice on dangerous driving and all other motoring offences
Universal Motoring Lawyers with its lead Barrister Warren Bergson have a long experience in handling dangerous driving cases. This is a serious offence which carries up to 2 years imprisonment.
The police station
If you are arrested for dangerous driving you will be taken to a police station and will be interviewed by the police. What you say (or fail to say) at that interview can make or break your case when you get to court. So it is vitally important to get an expert Barrister to come to the police station to advise and assist you. It is your right to have a Barrister present and the police will call a Barrister of your choice.
If you are charged with Dangerous Driving
After the police investigation if you are charged with this offence Warren will advise you every step of the way and will provide you with expert representation at court. Warren is known for his no-nonsense advice and sensitive handling of cases.
What is Dangerous Driving?
The legal definition of Dangerous Driving can cover situations on the borderline with the less serious offence of Careless Driving. It is sometimes advantageous to negotiate with the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the Dangerous Driving charge and accept a guilty plea to Careless Driving (you cannot be sent to prison for careless driving).
The following are typical examples of dangerous driving:
- racing or competitive driving;
- excessive speed for the prevailing road or traffic conditions;
- aggressive driving e.g. sudden lane changes, “cutting up” or driving much too close to the vehicle in front;
- deliberate disregard of traffic lights and other road signs;
- driving a vehicle knowing it has a dangerous defect or is poorly maintained or is dangerously loaded;
- driving whilst reading a map or newspaper or while using a hand-held mobile phone;
- driving when knowingly overtired or suffering from a medical condition which impairs driving skills
Dangerous v Careless Driving
The difference in terms of punishment can be huge. You cannot be sentenced to prison or even a community order for Careless Driving. The punishment for Careless Driving is a fine together with between 3 and 9 penalty points or alternatively disqualification.
By contrast, Dangerous Driving carries the possibility of a prison sentence of up to 2 years in the Crown Court (6 months in the Magistrates’ Court) and you must be given a minimum one year driving ban (unless there are Special Reasons)and you must take an extended re-test before you can drive again.
Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
This offence can only be dealt with by the Crown Court and the maximum sentence is 14 years prison. In addition the court must disqualify the driver for at least 2 years, unless “Special Reasons” are found. An extended re-test is also mandatory.
Causing serious injury by dangerous driving
There is also an offence of “causing serious injury by dangerous driving”. Depending on the level of seriousness this offence can be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court (maximum sentence 6 months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine) or the Crown Court where the maximum punishment is 5 years’ imprisonment. There is a minimum ban of 2 years (unless there are Special Reasons). An extended retest is also mandatory. The amount of the Charge varies depending on which court hears the case and whether there was a guilty plea or a conviction after a trial.
It is sometimes appropriate to go for trial on a dangerous driving charge because the court has a power to acquit the driver of the more serious charge but find them guilty of merely careless driving (or acquit totally). It is a matter of judgment and Warren Bergson will carefully assess all the prosecution evidence and advise on the best course of action.
In cases of causing death or serious injury by Dangerous Driving the police will produce a report after examination of the scene of the accident – the report will deal with issues such as road conditions, skid marks, the direction of travel and the position in which the victim is found. A separate vehicle examination will be carried out and a report produced. In fatal accident cases there will be a post-mortem report which may contain vitally important information eg the exact cause of death and where relevant the nature and level of alcohol or drugs in the body of the victim. Warren will obtain all reports from the prosecution.
There is a lot of science involved in trying to establish matters such as speed, exact location of the collision and manner of the driving. Where appropriate Warren Bergson will appoint an expert engineer for the defence who will carefully scrutinise the police findings. Our expert can reconstruct the accident, demonstrate lines of sight and produce scale plans. They will do their own calculations and reach their own conclusions. Where our report is more favourable than the police version on significant points Warren will fight to have our version accepted.
In appropriate cases Warren Bergson and Universal Motoring Lawyers will fight to get a charge of death by Dangerous Driving reduced to one of death by careless driving which carries much lower penalties. In the case of causing serious injury by Dangerous Driving Warren will try and get that reduced to straight Careless Driving (there is no offence of causing serious injury by careless driving). Warren will negotiate with the prosecution before the case comes to court to try and avoid a trial for the more serious offence.
Warren Bergson will examine your case extremely carefully to see if there is a possible defence to a charge of dangerous driving or causing death by dangerous driving. Warren will advise whether you should plead guilty or not guilty and the risks involved in each course of action.