Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

About Death by Dangerous Driving Offences

Causing death by dangerous driving is the most serious road traffic offence. In very sad circumstances, where someone has died, it is common for the police to consider charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

You will usually be asked to attend a police interview before a charging decision is made, and it is vital you get advice before making any comment.

Call NowEmail Now

5.0 54 reviews

How we help

If you are charged with a serious offence and have a defence, we will advise you on it. It is not uncommon for these offences to be overcharged, and if we believe this is the case, we will strive to persuade the prosecution to reduce or discontinue the charge.

We work with specialist motoring offence barristers who will represent you at the Crown Court. You will have the best chance of defending your case successfully. If a guilty plea is appropriate, we will prepare strong mitigation to reduce your sentence.

If you would like to know more please contact us today.

Defending cases of causing death by dangerous driving

The prosecution must prove the elements of the offence as required by the legal definition (in green). If they cannot, then you are not guilty of the offence.

As a starting point, the prosecution must prove that your driving was of a standard that amounts to dangerous driving, not simply careless driving. In cases which result in someone’s death, there is naturally a temptation for the prosecution to charge the most serious offence.

For more information please see our FAQs on causing death by dangerous driving offences below.

Factors to consider

The police may be under pressure from the family of the deceased who is understandably upset and is seeking justice for their loved one. Although it is an objective test, there is also an element of subjectivity when considering whether driving is dangerous or merely careless. From a legal point of view, it is easier to reduce a charge from a more serious allegation down to a less serious one than it is the other way around. Tactically, it may also invite a plea from the defence to a lesser allegation.

In light of the above, there are many occasions where the nature of the driving would appear to be careless but is ‘overcharged’ as dangerous.

In many cases, the correct charge is causing death by careless driving, which carries a much lower sentence.

Causing Death by Dangerous Driving Summary

p

Legal Definition

Causing death by dangerous driving is if:

  • The way you drove fell 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, and
  • the dangerous driving caused the death of another person
Main Legislation

Section 1 Road Traffic Act 1988

p

Maximum Penalties

Driving Ban: A minimum driving ban of 2 years. The court must order a compulsory re-test.

Fine: N/A

p

Court

Crown Court only

Imprisonable? Yes – up to 14 years imprisonment.

Do you need help with your Death by Dangerous Driving offence?

Talk to us today about how we can help you.

Relevant Cases

Causing Death by Dangerous Driving Offence FAQs

What do the police have to prove for causing death by dangerous driving?

The prosecution must prove that the driving was dangerous and that the defendant caused the death by driving dangerously.:

The Road Traffic Act 1988 provides that a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if:

  • The way he drives 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.

The prosecution must also prove that the defendant caused the death of another person.

The law does not require that the defendant’s driving must be a significant or substantial cause of death.

The driving need not be the only cause of death. However, the driving must be a cause and it must be something more than a slight or trifling link. It is important to note that to be a cause of death in law, the driving must in some way be the actual cause of death, and not simply create an occasion for an accident.

What is the difference between causing death by dangerous and careless driving?

The distinction is primarily based upon the standard driving displayed. It is a matter of fact and degree.

The definition of careless driving (driving without due care and attention) is contained in section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It is:

“Driving in a manner that falls below what would be expected of a careful and competent driver.”

As can be seen from the definition, it is virtually identical to that of dangerous driving apart from the use of the word “below” in place of the words “far below”.

Are there any examples of causing death by dangerous driving?

Examples of dangerous driving include:

  • Aggressive driving (such as sudden lane changes or cutting into a line of vehicles) or racing or competitive driving or speed that is highly inappropriate for the prevailing road or traffic conditions
  • Disregard of traffic lights and other road signs which, on an objective analysis, would appear to be deliberate
  • Driving a vehicle knowing it has a dangerous defect or with a load which presents a danger to other road users
  • Using a hand-held mobile phone or other handheld electronic equipment when the driver was avoidably and dangerously distracted by that use
  • Driving when too tired to stay awake or where the driver is suffering from impaired ability such as having an arm or leg in plaster, or impaired eyesight.

Not all displays of driving will fall clearly the category of dangerous or careless driving, so you must seek advice well before entering your plea. You do not have to use the same solicitor who represented you at the police station, and in cases involving serious offences, it is often best to seek specialist motoring advice.

Can the jury find me guilty of anything else?

If you want to defend your causing death by dangerous driving offence and the matter goes to trial, the jury has several options. It is not simply a matter of finding you guilty or not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. If they find you not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, they may find you guilty of the following offences in the alternative:

  • Dangerous driving
  • Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving
  • Careless, or inconsiderate, driving

The penalties for the above offences are far less severe than causing death by dangerous driving, but the first two in the list may still result in imprisonment depending on the circumstances. Even if you are found not to have offended, it is difficult for the sentencing judge to overlook the fact that someone has died and it is inevitably reflected in the sentence.

Pragma Law
5.0
Based on 54 reviews
powered by Google
Mission DanMission Dan
09:07 25 Jun 22
Absolutely saved my business. Took on my case, were direct from the start, kept me informed and worked behind the scenes to push my case and get my license returned, despite a somewhat archaic court house. You can tell pragma are specialists in this field and i genuinely recommend them 100% (thanks to lucy, david and claire) you saved my bacon
hayley smithhayley smith
12:14 15 Jun 22
Lucy was extremely thorough , professional and very emphatic. She always took the time to make everything totally clear and gave excellent guidance throughout.My son was facing a charge of death by dangerous driving. His sentenced was reduced to a suspended one with the help of Lucy and her teams expertise.This is a rare outcome.We are enormously grateful for her support and patience throughout the case, and can not recommend her highly enough!
Atanas CAtanas C
18:51 26 May 22
Just out of few miles.As we wheel around we do step at times on the lines labelled as traffic law. You could be fine at the moment but the sweet moment does not last. Out of just a few miles, the minute problem starts snowballing to a self-unmanageable level. Paper from traffic police paper from the court, bitter mouth, the clock is ticking and nothing sensible comes to mind of what to write to the court rep. When a problem starts simmering and climes we tend to run out of fit ideas. Some call it panicking and I agree. Pragma law has a different set of remedies for similar situations. And I am sharing this from experience. Lucy from Pragma listened to my story and said the problem is not as big as my mixed at the time mind thought it was. ‘’Leave with me and answer my emails timely and don’t worry’’ she said. Six weeks later I was out of the mud. Just like that, …out of a few miles.
Combe ClovisCombe Clovis
09:51 26 May 22
I just want to say thank you so much for your support for your help and advice, I really appreciate your services I was panicking, i couldn't sleep for properly because the thoughts l couldn't imagine losing my licence or getting banned for 6 months because l drive for living getting banned for 6 months means loosing my income for 6 months therefore loosing my home and get into really hardship so I really appreciate prgma low and special thanks to Mr David swingler who was there for me and advice me and defend my case really well and win the case for me instead of 6 months disqualification I got 14 days this for me it was big win thanks to David Swingler and Pragma Low.
Ismail KhanIsmail Khan
15:13 03 May 22
Very diligent, professional and helpful. Lucy prioritised us as our case was time-sensitive and was very prompt and accessible at all times whenever we needed to communicate with her. She helped us get the best possible outcome. Highly recommended!
Neil BrittonNeil Britton
14:33 23 Apr 22
Their pricing is less than that of other specialists.David did a great job of defending me in court.They communicated well and went out of their way to help.Couldn't recommend these solicitors enough.10/10
Michael GillespieMichael Gillespie
17:09 21 Apr 22
Fantastic service and representation. Great result.
Fahd The REAPER MoenisFahd The REAPER Moenis
19:24 20 Feb 22
Lucy is really professional and i was so relaxed and happy to deal with her
shaun allmanshaun allman
17:51 02 Feb 22
Great service, communication and informative with all the advice given to me. Very much will recommend to all my family and friends should they ever need a trustworthy and professional solicitor to help with advice and proceedings with motoring offences.
Filip Rares-NicolaeFilip Rares-Nicolae
18:17 24 Jan 22
Absolutely amazing from start to finish.Was extremely worried about a situation I had got myself in.Was a very very nervous time for me as losing my license would have meant I lost everything including my job.Pragma Law team was helpful, professional, clear and thorough from the outset.It was Lucy Whitaker who represented me in court and I cant stress enough how fantastic she was in that court room. I received the best possible outcome and kept my license. Without her I would of undoubtedly lost my license.As far as I am concerned this was a one off and will never ever happen again, however if I ever was in any situation of this kind in the future there is no where else I would turn.Can not recommend highly enough!
a tanasa tanas
18:02 25 Nov 21
Working with Lucy Whitaker as my lawyer has been the best thing I could have ever done. She sorted out my problem as BEST and i truly recommend her to anyone that needs to solve car problems.Flavia Campilli
Joseph PaynterJoseph Paynter
16:18 12 Nov 21
I recently had a case involving an E-Scooter, unfortunately I committed an offence that I didn't even know was illegal. I contacted Pragma Law after reading reviews and outcomes of similar cases, and was put into contact with Lucy Whitaker. Lucy was very professional throughout the whole process, and was very realistic with me about my outcome from the initial phone call. The consultation was extremely through and well carried out, and Lucy was always available to contact if I had any questions. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome from the court after Lucy's representation- from the potential of a suspended sentence reduced to a ban on the lower end of the range, and without a community order. In the court room Lucy was very good at explaining to the Magistrates that the seriousness of the case was nothing like what the sentencing guidelines were designed to punish for (driving a car) and this is what got my punishment reduced. The prices are reasonable, and transparent from the initial phone call with no hidden costs. Would definitely recommend.
Tim NVTim NV
14:43 14 Oct 21
Was really impressed with PL and Lucy. Was given great advice (which I wouldn’t have been able to obtain without guidance) throughout the whole process. Every time we communicated over the phone it was followed up with a written email with actions, next steps etc. was also fortunate enough to work with her colleague David too who represented my case where I avoided a ban of 6 months.
Abi CorsiAbi Corsi
16:39 14 Sep 21
Lucy is the best lawyer I could have possibly found. I unexpectedly received a letter from the police who at the time intended to prosecute me for driving an electric scooter without insurance, and without a license. I was terrified as if found guilty, I would receive 6 penalty points and would have lost my drivers license. Other solicitors I called said unfortunately there was nothing they could do. Lucy on the other hand immediately reassured me and wrote a letter to the police which persuaded them to drop the charges completely. I honestly can’t recommend her enough. Thank you Lucy!
Aziz AbilovAziz Abilov
15:29 31 Aug 21
I contacted Pragma Law when I wanted to appeal against a decision made in the Magistrates court. Lucy had picked up my case and advised me on the next steps. She helped me with everything that was required, advised me on all possible outcomes of the appeal, helped me get my licence back until the appeal hearing comes along, and then went ahead and got the appeal accepted in the Crown court. She is not only the best solicitor I’ve worked with, but she is also a wonderful human being. Very lovely and easy to work with, even the judges loved her! I 100% recommend you to contact them with any issues you have.
Asad AhmedAsad Ahmed
15:41 21 May 21
5* have dealt with lucy twice now! Very professional. Knows what shes doing! Would definitely recommend!
Bobby CharlesBobby Charles
19:05 07 Feb 21
I have had an extremely positive experience with Lucy Whittaker. She is very knowledgeable, very proactive and always explains things in a clear and precise.She was able to convince the court to drop a driving without due care charge despite the police and the CPS disareeing.I would hesitate to recommend Lucy and Pragma Law anyone who needs assistance.
harry bedderharry bedder
15:53 16 Dec 20
Fantastic Service provided by Lucy, very profesional and quick at getting you answers and providing the help you might need! I will definitly be recomening Pragma Law to anyone I know that has a motoring proplem please do the same...
Jobin Mathew JosephJobin Mathew Joseph
18:11 25 Nov 20
Absolutely brilliant! 100 percent reliable! The case was related to driving matter and I had initially approached few other solicitors for help with my case. They all denied saying we would not win the case. But Lucy happily took the case and help me win the case with the best possible outcome.She puts you at ease and confidence. Very responsive in your queries. She genuinely care for case and very pleasant to deal with. Always well prepared and wins you the best possible outcome. Very Very Strongly recommend. Thanks much Lucy.
Lewis CobleyLewis Cobley
11:12 05 Nov 20
I highly recommend Pragma Law for any motoring problem. They were very efficient and professional even with little time to prepare.
A Google User
A Google User
14:30 04 Jul 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
hannah vanessahannah vanessa
15:45 15 Jun 20
I suffer with anxiety (as many) and this incident completely took over my life for months until I met Lucy. I was super comfortable and confident in her work as she was very professional and was always available to help. Really helped take the stress away - thanks Lucy and thanks Pragma!
Wayne DaviesWayne Davies
14:51 08 Jun 20
What can I say about pragma law and Lucy whitaker, 1st class absolutely brilliant!!!. I had my licence revoked last October due to vasovagal syncope (faint) from the word go Lucy was brilliant, and I only dealt with her, she explained everything, in every stage extremely professional in everything she does, and had my licence back. What a result!!! thank you so much Lucy.
Rukhsar LatifRukhsar Latif
13:59 19 May 20
Lucy genuinly cares about her clients she took on my case dealt with everything herself and won my case I couldn't be happier with the results and the service. I will definitely be using Pragma Law again if needs be.
Vicky ClarkeVicky Clarke
20:16 03 Mar 20
I couldn't have hoped for a better solicitor. Lucy did everything she could to get the best possible outcome for me, and I can't thank her enough
Paul MercerPaul Mercer
17:19 31 Jan 20
Lucy Whitaker provided an impressive, cost effective service. She was objective, responded quickly to questions and, I believe, offered the best advice before efficiently dealing with a case as it came to court.I would have no hesitation either in using Lucy again, should the need arise, or recommending her services.
Rebecca HodkinsonRebecca Hodkinson
16:33 19 Nov 19
Lucy represented me in a driving case and I couldn't be happier. She was friendly, professional and pragmatic without giving me false hope. The outcome was a more positive one than I expected and that's down to her advice and detailed preparations. Would highly recommend! Thank you Lucy!
Gary SykesGary Sykes
22:12 04 Oct 19
We were so impressed with Lucy Whitaker. She represented our son in an unusual driving case which thanks to her knowledge, care & understanding, ended in a much better than expected outcome. Clear, concise & professional, we highly recommend her... can't thank her enough!!
js_loader

Contact Us

Get in touch today by simply filling in our contact form and one of our friendly team will get back to you.
Alternatively, call us on: 0115 784 0382 or email us at: [email protected]

8 + 11 =