A prosecution for dangerous driving is brought where it is alleged that someone’s driving fell far below what would be expected of a ‘competent and careful’ driver. To succeed in such a prosecution, the Crown must prove not only that the particular episode of driving fell far below that standard but also that it would have been obvious to a careful and competent driver that driving in that way was dangerous. Such prosecutions are brought under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

There need not be an accident to prompt a charge of dangerous driving. The Crown may bring a prosecution under Section 2 if it can be shown that the driving involved danger of either injury to any person (including the driver himself) or of serious damage to property. For example, prosecutions for dangerous driving are routinely brought on the basis of excessive speed alone, whether on a motorway or in an urban setting, depending upon how far in excess of the prevailing limit the driver is alleged to have been travelling. A course of driving which involves aggressive tailgating, leading a pursuing police vehicle over a distance or ignoring obvious dangers or traffic signals might found a dangerous driving charge. It is also possible to be charged with dangerous driving on the basis of the condition or state of the vehicle being driven, even if the driving itself is perfectly competent.

Penalties for Dangerous Driving

The penalties for dangerous driving are a good deal more severe than those for careless driving (or driving without due care and attention as it is otherwise known). As with drink driving, disqualification for a minimum of twelve months is mandatory. In addition, the Court is obliged to disqualify someone convicted of dangerous driving until they pass the extended test of competency. This means that once the duration of any driving ban has expired, the offender will not be able to attain a full driving licence again until he or she has sat and passed a driving test which is more stringent than the conventional test. Because of the potentially serious consequences of conviction, it is vital to consult an experienced road traffic lawyer who is able to carry out a proper analysis of the evidence, instruct defence experts if necessary and advise as to the prospects of successfully defending a charge of dangerous driving.

Driving without due care and attention is an implied alternative to a charge of dangerous driving under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act. This means that where someone is charged and prosecuted with dangerous driving but the sheriff (or jury) is not satisfied that the standard of driving fell far below that required of a competent and careful driver such as to prove dangerous driving, a verdict convicting the accused of the lesser charge of driving without due care and attention is available to the Court and there is a much greater discretion in the imposition of disqualification or penalty points. If instructed to do so, a road traffic solicitor can approach the prosecutor with a view to negotiating a reduced plea to careless driving where someone is initially charged with dangerous driving.

Dangerous Driving & Motoring Solicitors Edinburgh

If you have been charged with dangerous driving or think you may be charged with this or any other road traffic offence, it is important that you speak to an expert road traffic lawyer as soon as possible. We offer free initial advice to anyone no matter what their circumstances might be. Call us today on 0131 557 9151 (24hrs) for a free, no obligation discussion. Alternatively, request a callback or fill out our online enquiry form and we will be straight back in touch with you.

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