Causing Death by Careless Driving
About Death by Careless Driving Offences
Causing death by careless driving and causing death by inconsiderate driving are two of the most serious offences. The maximum penalty is up to 5 years in prison. Not everyone convicted of causing death by careless driving will go to prison. It will depend on the circumstances of the case and the person involved.
The Police treat collisions involving fatalities differently from other driving offences. They will want to interview those involved, and it is essential you get legal representation. What you say at an interview may be used against you, and this can make a substantial difference to the outcome. Our specialists have experience in representing motorists accused of causing death by careless and dangerous driving. We have secured not guilty verdicts and avoided custody for the driver accused.
Free Initial Legal Advice
If you have been involved in a fatal road traffic accident, I would be pleased to have a free initial discussion to see if I can assist you. In the unlikely event I am unable to help you, I will tell you without charge. If you do instruct us for further advice or court representation, I will agree fixed fees for each stage of the work.
We have successfully defended these serious cases before and can give you the best advice. Your insurers may agree to pay our fees, but if not, we offer very competitive rates, despite using only specialist solicitors and barristers.
If you would like to know more please contact us today.
How we can help
We will liaise with your insurance company without charge and explore if there is cover in place to cover our fees. Being accused of such a serious driving offence causes a lot of stress, and we will do our best to keep that to a minimum. Our fees are transparent and very competitive for those who must pay privately.
You will have one allocated solicitor throughout your case and will be assigned a Specialist Motoring Offence Barrister to handle your court hearing. No paralegals or unqualified advisers will be used for your very important case.
For more information please see our FAQs on Death by Careless Driving offences below.
Death by Careless Driving Summary
Driving of a standard that falls below that of a careful and competent driver and which causes the death of another.
Driving Penalties: Obligatory disqualification of a minimum 12 months. Court has the discretion to order a re-test.
Magistrates or Crown Court.
Imprisonable? Yes – up to 6 months in the Magistrates’ Court, up to 5 years in the Crown Court.
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Death by Careless Driving Offence FAQs
What do the police have to prove for careless driving?
This gives the prosecution a very low hurdle to get over. Most people will probably admit that at some point their standard of driving will drop below that of a competent and careful driver. Fortunately for them, if they are not seen and/or lucky enough not to be involved in an incident, there will be no criminal consequences.
Often a prosecution for careless driving will be reliant upon witness testimony and sometimes it can be one driver’s word against another’s. On other occasions, there may be a collision report or even a mechanical report.
What is the standard of a careful and competent driver?
Which cases result in prison sentences?
The cases which may not result in custody are typically those where the driving involved only a momentary lapse of concentration, with no aggravating features. The lowest penalty suggested by the guidelines is a low-level community order.
The court will determine each case on its facts, taking into account the circumstances of the driver.
What is an aggravating factor?
Examples given in the guidelines include:
- Where there are other offences committed at the same time, such as driving other than in accordance with the terms of a valid licence; driving while disqualified; driving without insurance; taking a vehicle without consent; driving a stolen vehicle
- Previous convictions for motoring offences, particularly offences that involve bad driving
- More than one person was killed as a result of the offence
- Serious injury to one or more persons in addition to the death(s)
- Irresponsible behaviour, such as failing to stop or falsely claiming that one of the victims was responsible for the collision
The above list is not exhaustive.
The Court must balance these against any mitigating factors
Are there any examples of careless driving?
Can I choose which court hears my case?
The court will then make a decision about whether the case should be heard in the crown or magistrates court.
If the court decides that the case is suitable for a magistrates’ court, you still have the choice to elect for the case to be heard in the crown court. You need to take legal advice before making this decision as there are pros and cons of either venue.
If the court decides that the case should be dealt with by the crown court, you cannot choose to have it heard in the magistrates’ court.
Do I need a solicitor for a causing death by careless driving offence?
In these very sad and serious cases, you risk imprisonment, even if you have never been in trouble with the police before.