Death by dangerous driving
May 26, 2017
The risk of being killed on the roads is often used as a measure of just how safe other things are in life.
But that sort of statement doesn’t necessarily make people drive with greater care. Driving is necessary, it’s familiar, and it’s accessible. And that can breed complacency, momentary lapses, and an under-appreciation of the dangers.
Headlines continue to bring the devastating consequences of dangerous driving to the fore. And the law treats very seriously the offence of causing death by dangerous driving (driving in a way that falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and where it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous). Those convicted face a prison sentence of up to 14 years, as well as disqualification from driving for at least two years.
But, as with many other types of criminal cases, justice is not always perceived to have been done. It’s something that the Government has been looking into as part of its consultation: ‘Driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury’. One of the big questions is whether or not the current maximum penalty adequately reflects the culpability of the person responsible, or whether 14 years should be increased to life imprisonment.
We shall have to wait a little longer for the answer; no date has yet been set for the publication of the response to the consultation. But whether the sentencing levels become reshaped or not, the basic principle remains the same: if you are convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, you should expect a significant penalty.
That said, there are no foregone conclusions. And involving a specialist road traffic offences solicitor as soon as possible after the incident could make more of a difference than you might think. The earlier the facts can be established, and your case built, the better your chance of putting forward the strongest defence. Because the most severe sanction won’t be imposed automatically. There may be evidential points, specific defences, and mitigation in your favour.
The key is to recognise that, while immeasurable damage has been done, there is good reason to fully explore your legal options.
Please contact a member of our Litigation team who will be able to advise you on your specific circumstances. Telephone: 01264 353411, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via our no obligation enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.
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