Dangerous Driving is governed by Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if their driving falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
What constitutes dangerous driving can be varied with speed alone in the absence of any dangers has been sufficient to establish dangerous driving. Dangerous driving can be aggravated by a number of factors including the weather, the number of other cars on the road and the location of the offence.
The penalties for a conviction can be up 2 years imprisonment, if tried on Indictment although it is normally prosecuted summarily, or an unlimited fine or both. Conviction also carries with an obligatory disqualification for a minimum period of one year. Following on from a conviction a driver will also be required to sit an extended test prior to being allowed to drive again, which will be more demanding than the standard test. A driver will only be able to avoid a disqualification upon a conviction for dangerous driving if they are able establish Special Reason, which are only available in exceptional circumstances. The exceptional circumstances are limited and are only in respect of the commission of the offence and not to the personal circumstances of the person convicted.
If the court is persuaded that the circumstances of the offence are such that they are not dangerous they are entitled to convict the driver of the lesser charge of careless driving. The penalties for careless driving are less serious but a court may disqualify a driver if they feel the circumstances merit it.
The sentences available to the court are serious and as such it is important if you are facing a charge of dangerous driving that you seek legal advice immediately. We can assist by defending any allegation dangerous driving with our lawyers able to persuade the court that the statutory test has not been met, persuade the court a defence exists or a lesser charge is more appropriate.
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