Dangerous Driving - Finding an Expert Lawyer

Every year, more than 3,000 people in the UK are charged with dangerous driving. Anyone convicted of this offence faces a high risk of going to prison and receiving a sentence of up to two years, as well as facing a long period of disqualification.

If you face this serious charge, it is essential to get expert legal advice from a dangerous driving lawyer.  Marcus Croskell has over a decade of assisting drivers with offences relating to their vehicles before magistrates, juries or if required, appealing to the Court of Appeal in London.  He is highly experienced in defending people charged with offences of this type across East Anglia.

There are also potential longer prison terms for people convicted of the new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving or the even more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving – up to 5 years prison for injury or up to 14 years for causing death. It is immensely distressing for a motorist, who often has never been in any form of trouble before, to face court over these serious charges, making it all the more essential to have expert representation.

What is Dangerous Driving and What Is the Court Process?

Dangerous driving is not a set way of driving as such - the test the court will apply is whether the standard of driving fell well below that of the reasonable and prudent driver.  This requires the magistrates or jury to try to be objective and assess the standards to what would be commonly expected of reasonable driver on a day to day basis.  Marcus recently assisted a gentleman in the Court of Appeal (he did not represent him at trial) who approached him after he had been convicted and desperately needed help.  Marcus Croskell helped him set out his appeal and was successful by reducing the period of ban by nearly 50% for his offence that would be described by the newspapers as 'road rage'.

This is an either-way charge, i.e. it can be tried at magistrates or Crown Court.  These are types of offences that can be tried in either venue.  In the first instance, the Court will consider whether it is so serious as to whether it could only be tried in the Crown Court.  However, if they remain happy to retain it, you can overrule them by electing to have you right to be tried by a jury of your peers.  What does this mean?  In many respects, very little as in Marcus Croskell’s experience, if something is so serious a magistrates’ court will likely commit for sentence if it warrants it and Crown Court judges tend to be more sensible with their sentences.  Plus statistically, you are more likely to be acquitted in the Crown Court.

Defences and Mitigation

It is up to the court to decide what constitutes dangerous driving.   There may be possible defences, for instance a car developing a fault which was not previously known about or a driver becoming ill at the wheel with a condition which developed suddenly and again was not previously known.  This was not a defence recently available to the dustcart lorry driver in Glasgow as he knew he had the condition and concealed it from his employer.

Often, an expert dangerous driving lawyer will help consider whether an alternative plea could be offered to reduce the risk of a larger sentence.  For instance, a course of driving may amount to driving without care and attention (careless driving), but not dangerous.  The former carries no mandatory disqualification so it may be more attractive to offer this.

In other cases, where it is clear that the driving was dangerous, it is still possible for your lawyer to offer mitigation, explaining the circumstances.   There may be a wide amount of mitigation available such as the conduct of other drivers, a long history of good driving and behaviour, etc.

Causing Serious Injury or Death by Dangerous Driving

In 2012, causing serious injury by dangerous driving became a separate offence and more drivers now starting to be charged with this. As explained above, this is an either-way offence that may be tried in the magistrates’ court or crown court.  There has been a recent rise in death by dangerous driving cases which the court’s are vigilant to monitor and ensure motorists realise that they driving is a privilege and not a right.

If you face a dangerous driving charge it is bound to be a difficult and traumatic time, especially if someone was injured or even killed in the accident.   It is essential you have expert legal advice from the start of the whole process, and as a specialist in this whole area Marcus Croskell can advise you. Legal aid likely to be available in for the more serious offences, although this is wholly dependent on your income.  Marcus Croskell can help you through this process or on a privately paid basis if you are not eligible but still want assistance. 

Marcus Croskell is an expert barrister specialising for over a decade in road traffic offences including dangerous driving.  If you need advice and assistance with your legal problem, then do not hesistate to contact him by EMAIL HERE or on 0843 886 2603.