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Death by Dangerous Driving
Death by dangerous driving is a serious criminal offence with the potential for an unlimited fine and up to 14 years’ imprisonment. If you find yourself the subject of an investigation for death by dangerous driving, you should seek specialist legal advice and representation straightaway to give yourself the best possible defence.
Our criminal defence solicitors have been representing clients in relation to serious driving offences, including death by dangerous driving, for over 40 years. We know exactly how these charges work and what it takes for a successful defence, so you can have confidence that you are receiving the very best advice and representation at all times.
We can provide immediate, practical advice in plain English (or any other language) from the point of arrest, through all stages of police investigation and any subsequent prosecution, making sure your rights are protected and helping you to secure the best available outcome. We can also advise you before the point of arrest if you have concerns about a potential charge.
You are likely to be confused and upset if you have found yourself facing these types of serious criminal charges where a death is involved. We aim to make the whole process easier on you by offering clear, effective legal advice and sympathetic personal support, with our team ready to be there by your side, every step of the way.
Our specialist serious driving offences lawyers have built an excellent record of helping clients to avoid criminal penalties. In many cases, we have seen secured the dropping of cases before they even reach court, while also regularly securing not guilty verdicts in court. We can also advise you where it may be appropriate to plead guilty to a lesser charge, such as death by careless driving, where this is the best available option.
If you have been arrested for, or charged with, death by dangerous driving, you can contact us 24-hours a day, seven days a week for an immediate free initial consultation, expert legal advice and representation.
As well as speaking a number of languages across our team, we also work with various accredited interpreters, allowing us to advise you clearly and effectively in any language. Our team are available 24/7 for immediate advice and representation for clients across England and Wales, meaning you always have access to our expert legal support.
Need immediate legal support for a death by dangerous driving arrest? Our accredited Police Station Representatives and solicitors are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year using the emergency numbers listed at the top of the page.
Our expertise with death by dangerous driving charges
We offer unrivalled expertise in the law around serious driving offences, based on many years of experience representing clients under the most challenging circumstances.
Our criminal defence lawyers can ensure your case is handled expertly from your first contact with police and through every stage of investigation and any resulting prosecution.
With strong experience in analysing and gathering the various types of evidence crucial to these types of cases, including CCTV footage, expert accident analysis and witness testimony, we can ensure no detail or potential angle of defence is overlooked.
We have extensive advocacy experience, as well as working with some of the UK’s leading criminal defence barristers specialising in death by dangerous driving prosecutions, so if your case goes to trial, we can ensure you have the best available representation.
What to do if you are arrested for death by dangerous driving
If you are arrested on suspicion of death by dangerous driving it is important to know your legal rights so you can avoid the risk of saying or doing anything which could harm your defence.
Any mistakes at this early stage of proceedings can be difficult to recover from later, so please keep in mind the following key points:
- You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. Whether to do so or not requires a thorough understanding of your case and how the criminal justice system works. You should take legal advice before saying anything.
- You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
- You have the right to free legal representation.
- You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer.
When making an arrest, the arresting officers must tell you the specific offences you are accused of committing and they must caution you using the words:
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
After a police interview for death by dangerous driving, there are various potential outcomes, including:
- Release with no further action being taken against you
- Release under investigation
- Detention in custody
- Charging with a specific offence
If you are charged with death by dangerous driving:
- A hearing date will be set
- You will either be:
- Released on bail
- Kept in custody until your court hearing
If you are released, it is important to realise that you can be rearrested or summonsed to attend a court hearing at any time.
What is the difference between death by dangerous driving and death by careless driving?
The difference between what is considered to dangerous driving as opposed to careless driving can seem confusing. Which of the two (if any) applies to any given case will depend on the exact circumstances. The distinction is very important for your defence, however, as the potential penalties for causing death by dangerous driving are much more serious than those for causing death by careless driving.
Careless driving requires you to have driven “without due care and attention”. That means that your driving fell below the standard to be expected of a careful, competent driver.
Examples of careless driving might include under-taking another vehicle, not leaving a sufficient distance between your vehicle and another road user or doing something that distracts you from driving such as using your mobile phone, eating or smoking.
Dangerous driving requires your driving to have fallen far below the standard expected of a competent driver. Usually, that involves a driver posing a clear danger of physical injury or serious damage to others or their property.
Examples of dangerous driving might include driving too fast, driving erratically, going through red lights, mounting the pavement repeatedly, driving under the influence of drink of drugs, or driving a vehicle you know has a dangerous fault.
Penalties for death by dangerous driving
The maximum potential penalties for death by dangerous driving are:
- 14 years’ imprisonment
- An unlimited fine
- A mandatory 2-year disqualification from driving, which can be extended to reflect any prison sentence,
- A requirement to take an extended driving test to regain your licence
For reference, the maximum potential penalties for death by careless driving are:
- 5 years’ imprisonment
- Disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months, which can be extended to reflect any prison sentence.
The exact sentence following any conviction for dangerous driving will depend on the circumstances, including:
- The offender’s level of responsibility for what occurred
- Any other offences involved e.g. if the vehicle driven was stolen or the driver failed to stop at the scene of an accident
- The seriousness of the harm caused e.g. if more than one person was killed or injured
What defences are there against a charge of death by dangerous driving?
The potential defences available will depend on the circumstances, so it is important to take specialist advice at the earliest opportunity.
A common defence is to ask the prosecution to accept a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving. This is often the best option if there is no dispute that you were driving the vehicle, your driving fell below acceptable standards and that a death resulted. The penalties are much lower than in cases where the driving was dangerous.
Other defences may include that your driving was not dangerous or careless, or that you were not driving the vehicle at the time. If there was a dangerous fault with your vehicle, it may be possible to show that you were unaware of it at the time of the accident and could not reasonably have been expected to know of the fault.
Our criminal defence solicitors are highly experienced in representing clients facing serious driving offences, including death by dangerous driving, so can make sure all defence options are properly explored, so you have the best chance of securing a positive outcome for your case.
Contact our driving offence defence lawyers today
For a free initial consultation, urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about an arrest or charges related to death by dangerous driving, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:
- Camden Office: 020 7624 7771
- Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
- Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
- City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
24/7 legal representation for death by dangerous driving charges
Please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice on dealing with an arrest or charges connected to death by dangerous driving.
We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556.
This document does not constitute legal advice.
For new serious cases you can email a senior partner/lawyer directly by clicking here. When you call us you can request a call back or meeting the same day with a senior partner/lawyer or Barrister.