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How can solicitors help with a dangerous driving charge?

Have you received a dangerous driving charge? Our expert driving offence solicitors specialise in helping clients who have been charged with dangerous driving. Our solicitors look at how we can help.

Facing a charge of Dangerous Driving is a disconcerting position to be in; particularly as the sentencing guidelines pose a high risk of a custodial sentence. As the offence carries a minimum of a mandatory driving disqualification, you will have to attend a court hearing if you are charged with this offence. As your attendance is essential, failing to do so could result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

“As this offence is so serious in nature and in respect of sentencing we would always recommend instructing a Solicitor to handle your case; as this will ensure you obtain the best possible outcome.”

If you have been pulled over by the police, you may be arrested and interviewed at the station under caution. You would then subsequently receive a court date. However, if you have not been stopped by police, you with receive an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) in the post. The NIP is sent out in order to obtain the driver details so the police can ensure the correct person is being charged with the offence. Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states you are obliged to disclose driver details, ‘(2) Where the driver of a vehicle is alleged to be guilty of an offence to which this section applies’.

“Once you respond to the NIP you will be subsequently sent a court summons.”

If you were unable to name the driver or failed to respond the NIP, you would be charged with failure to furnish information and could receive six penalty points. Howbeit the burden would then fall on the police to prove you drove the vehicle, in order to proceed with a dangerous driving conviction. Even if the police were successful and the CPS acquired a witness, this isn’t to say they will agree to give evidence in court, which could seriously thwart their case against you.

In whichever circumstance (as named above) you find yourself in, as solicitor can review your case and help prepare you for court by investigating which defences could be relevant. For example, if you were driving dangerously as a result of being put in an emergency situation, this could amount to a ‘special reasons’ argument. In order for the court to accept ‘special reasons’ your matter must; be directly connected with the offence, not amount to a lawful defence to the charge, be a mitigating/ extenuating circumstance and be reasons which the court ought to take into consideration when determining your sentence. For an ‘emergency situation’ defence to be used, it must also be the you had no other option but to commit the offence. For instance, if you were trying to aid a friend/family member who needed urgent medical attention, it must not have been a viable option to call an ambulance.

“The most common defence to dangerous driving is that you simply do not believe you’re driving to be dangerous.”

In order to be charged with dangerous driving you must have engaged in driving that could potentially endanger yourself or other drivers. However, you can challenge the prosecutions case. Whilst your driving may have fallen below the standard expected of a careful driver and without consideration for other road users; you could argue it would not amount to a dangerous driving charge. If this was successful your charge could be reduced to a driving without due, care and attention charge. This would dramatically change the sentence you receive as, driving without due care and attention sentencing ranges from 3 points to a 6 month disqualification. Agreeing to this reduced plea removes the of a community service order or custodial sentence.

If this defence is a possibility for you, your solicitor would look through your IDPC (Initial Details of The Prosecution’s Case) and examine the evidence the CPS have against you. If the prosecution has wrongly applied the definition of dangerous driving or have failed to obtain strong evidence in support of the charge – this defence holds good prospects. However, this defence is only relevant if you accept you have committed an offence. If you do not then your solicitor would look at your IDPC and the prospects of challenging the prosecution’s evidence in its entirety.

“If there are no relevant defences to your charge of dangerous driving a solicitor can still assist you with your case by helping to negotiate a reduced sentence by presenting mitigation to court.”

This would inform the court of your personal situation and the impact sentencing would have on your life and those close to you. For example, if you are a single parent, a custodial sentence would hugely impact your child/s life. To develop a good strong case of mitigation, it is important you solicitor spends a good amount of time understand the details of your circumstances, in order to present this to the Judge/s.

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