You can’t be sent to prison for most minor driving offences. Some more serious offences may result in a prison sentence depending on the circumstances.

Which driving offences can result in prison?

Below is a brief list of driving offences which may result in immediate imprisonment. It is a rough guide only based on a first offence and does not take into account factors such as personal mitigation. All offences are different and just because prison is a possibility, it may not be inevitable.

Our driving offence solicitors can give bespoke advice about your offence and whether you are at risk of custody. If you are facing an imprisonable offence, we will do our utmost to persuade the court not to impose an immediate sentence.

Prison Most Likely 

Causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving.

Prison Likely

Dangerous driving, high-level drink driving with aggravating factors eg not a first offence or injury caused, failing to stop or report an accident where injury or serious damage is caused, high impairment drug driving with aggravating factors eg not a first offence or injury caused, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a specimen with aggravating factors eg not a first offence or injury caused.

Prison Possible

Drink driving with no aggravating factors, drunk in charge, failing to provide a specimen with no aggravating factors.

Prison Not Possible

Speeding, careless driving, contravening a traffic signal or red light, driving without insurance, driving without a licence, using a mobile phone while driving, driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

The above list is not exhaustive and is not a replacement for professional legal advice. If you are facing an offence that could result in a prison sentence, contact us today.

Can I go to prison for speeding?

As can be seen from the list above, the courts cannot send you to prison for a speeding offence alone. The maximum penalty for speeding is a fine and penalty points or a driving disqualification. The maximum fine depends on the type of road you were driving on and the level of your speed.

Maximum Penalties for Speeding

At present, the offence carries 3-6 penalty points or a discretionary disqualification and a financial penalty up to a maximum of £2,500 if the offence is committed on a motorway and the speed limit is 70mph). In other cases, the maximum fine is £1,000. The fine level itself will also depend on your income which you will have to declare to the court.

Other Penalties for Speeding

The court can’t impose a different sentence for speeding such as unpaid work or a curfew (also known a being on tag).

There is no power for the court to offer a speed awareness course for speeding.

Speeding is not the same as dangerous driving

In a legal sense, speeding isn’t automatically dangerous, but it may be careless. Dangerous driving is a far more serious offence for which you can go to prison.

If the police intend to charge you with dangerous driving instead of or in addition to speeding, they need to make this clear at an early stage. The prosecution cannot simply change the charge from speeding to dangerous driving when the matter comes to court.

It is a question of fact and degree whether the speed a vehicle is driven at is dangerous. The court can take into account factors such as road conditions, visibility, traffic level and other potential hazards.

Whether you are facing a minor or serious driving offence we can advise and help you so please do get in touch.

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