Dangerous Driving Offence

About Dangerous Driving Offences

Dangerous driving is a very serious road traffic offence for which you can go to prison. If you are convicted, you will face a minimum 12-month driving disqualification and be required to pass an extended re-test before you can drive again. Our Dangerous Driving Solicitors are experienced in dealing with these cases and can help you get the best outcome.

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How we help

If you are charged with dangerous driving 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.

In many cases, the correct charge is careless driving which carries a much lower sentence. We are often able to persuade the prosecution that careless driving is the more appropriate offence which means that the potential penalties are not as harsh. You cannot go to prison for careless driving.

We work with specialist motoring offence barristers who will represent you at the Crown Court or we can represent you in the Magistrates’ 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.

Defending cases of 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.

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.

Dangerous Driving Summary


Legal Definition

Driving which is of a standard which falls far below that which would be expected of a careful and competent driver; and

Where it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.


If it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous.

Main Legislation

Section 2 Road Traffic Act 1988


Maximum Penalties

A minimum driving ban of 12 months. The court must order a compulsory re-test.

Fine: Unlimited.



Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court

Imprisonable? Yes – up to 6 months’ imprisonment in the Magistrates’ Court and up to 2 years’ imprisonment in the Crown Court

Do you need help with your Dangerous Driving Offence?

Talk to us today about how we can help you.

Relevant Cases

Dangerous Driving FAQs

What is the difference between 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 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.

Are there any ways to avoid a ban?

Yes, you can avoid a ban if you have special reasons.

Special reasons are different from defences. It is like saying: “I did drive dangerously, but I have a really good reason for it”.  You must have a very good reason as the courts are generally reluctant to find special reasons. If the court finds special reasons, the magistrates have the discretion not to impose penalty points.

See our page on special reasons for more details.


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Asad Ahmed
Asad Ahmed
15:41 21 May 21
5* have dealt with lucy twice now! Very professional. Knows what shes doing! Would definitely recommend!
Bobby Charles
Bobby 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.read more
harry bedder
harry 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...read more
Jobin Mathew Joseph
Jobin 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.read more
Lewis Cobley
Lewis 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.read more
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.read more
hannah vanessa
hannah 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!read more
Wayne Davies
Wayne 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.read more
Rukhsar Latif
Rukhsar 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.read more
Vicky Clarke
Vicky 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 enoughread more
Paul Mercer
Paul 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.read more
Rebecca Hodkinson
Rebecca 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!read more
Gary Sykes
Gary 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!!read more
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