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Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

If you have been arrested or accused of causing death by dangerous driving, you are strongly advised to contact an expert criminal defence solicitor straightaway.

This is a serious offence with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. An experienced death by dangerous driving solicitor will be able to ensure that the court is aware of the facts of the case, including any mitigating circumstances.

How our causing death by dangerous driving solicitors can help you

At Stephen Rimmer LLP, we are known for our criminal defence expertise. Our dangerous driving solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with the most severe charges, including causing death by dangerous driving. We understand how to put together the strongest possible defence. We will also ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the conduct of your case.

As well as legal expertise, we have an in-depth understanding of the way the criminal justice system works. If there are any breaches of protocol, we will pick these up and where possible request that charges are dropped if appropriate.

We offer a full service in respect of causing death by dangerous driving, including:

Stephen Rimmer LLP is one of the few law firms based in East Sussex which is authorised by the Legal Aid Agency to carry out Prison Law work. This means that we can provide advice to prisoners in relation to death by dangerous driving offences.

We have been recognised for our criminal law expertise by the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation accreditation.

Get in touch with our death by dangerous driving solicitors in Eastbourne and Hastings

For immediate expert advice on death by dangerous driving offences, please use the contact details below to get in touch:

Our death by dangerous driving expertise

Attending interview under caution with you

If you have been asked to attend an interview under caution at the police station, you are strongly advised to take a legal representative with you. If you ask us to help you, we will help you prepare for the interview and request the disclosure of information beforehand so that we can establish the details that have been recorded relating to the incident.

We will attend the interview with you and ensure that the police do not overstep their authority in questioning you.

Advising you on the strength or weakness of the case against you

The Road Traffic Act 1988 defines dangerous driving as a standard of driving that falls so far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver that it would be obvious to a careful and competent driver that driving this way is dangerous. This can include driving aggressively, ignoring traffic lights and not looking at the road, for example, looking at a mobile phone instead.

The police will need to provide the Crown Prosecution Service with evidence of the standard of your driving at the time of the alleged offence.

We will obtain a copy of the evidence and details of the accident and discuss the case against you and the best way to raise a defence.

Discussing any possible mitigating factors

We will go through what happened with you to establish whether there are any mitigating factors. This could include:

  • You were seriously injured in the accident
  • The victim contributed to the accident
  • A third party contributed to the accident or death
  • The victim was a relative or close friend
  • You had drugs or alcohol in your system that you did not know you had taken
  • Your age or youth, if it affected your responsibility
  • Unknown defects to the vehicle
  • Disability or mental illness
  • You were dealing with a genuine emergency
  • Your full co-operation with the investigation
  • A guilty plea
  • Genuine remorse for the incident
  • You are the primary carer for someone who is dependent upon you

Discussing your intended plea

Pleading guilty to an offence can reduce a sentence by up to one-third. This is intended to reduce the stress for victims and witnesses as well as relieving pressure on the courts.

If you are aged over 18, pleading guilty in the first stages of the proceedings can result in the largest reduction, which will be a maximum of one-third. As time goes by, a guilty plea will result in a smaller reduction in your sentence if you are found guilty.

To stand a chance of securing a one-third reduction, a guilty plea would need to be entered no later than the first hearing of your case at the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court.

A plea entered two weeks after the first hearing could result in a reduction of no more than one-fifth. If you have been accused of an indictable offence, i.e., your case must be heard in the Crown Court, there is a limit of 28 days after the prosecutor has made initial disclosure of their case.

The potential reduction in sentence reduces the nearer to the trial you are. If you plead guilty on the first day of the hearing, no more than one-tenth will be deducted from your sentence. Once the trial has commenced and witness evidence started, no reduction is available for a guilty plea.

We will discuss your options with you in light of the evidence against you and the strength of your defence as well as any mitigating or aggravating factors there may be.

Our death by dangerous driving solicitors’ fees

Legal aid for death by dangerous driving offences

You are entitled to receive free legal representation if you are arrested or interviewed under caution and part or all of your defence may be covered if a case is pursued against you.

Privately funded criminal defence for death by dangerous driving

If you are not eligible for legal aid, we also provide privately funded legal defence for death by dangerous driving.

For more information about the legal costs for death by dangerous driving, please contact us.

Death by dangerous driving FAQs

What are some examples of dangerous driving?

Dangerous driving examples include:

  • Driving aggressively
  • Racing
  • Ignoring road signs and traffic lights
  • Overtaking unsafely
  • Undertaking unsafely
  • Driving when knowingly deprived of sleep
  • Driving when knowingly suffering from a medical or physical condition that significantly impairs the ability to drive safely
  • Ignoring warnings from passengers
  • Knowingly driving a vehicle with dangerous defects
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while taking medication when you have been told not to drive
  • Allowing yourself to be distracted while driving, for example, by your phone

What is the minimum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving?

For death by dangerous driving the minimum sentence recommended is two years imprisonment plus disqualification for at least one year.

How long do you go to jail for causing death by dangerous driving?

A death by dangerous driving sentence will depend on several factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the offence
  • Any aggravating factors
  • Any mitigating factors

For death by dangerous driving the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

There are three levels of seriousness, as follows:

Level 1 offence

Level 1 is the most serious level and applies to driving where the law was deliberately ignored and the danger to others disregarded. Examples include knowingly driving after drinking alcohol and persistent bad driving.

The starting point for sentencing is 8 years in prison. The range is from 7 years up to life imprisonment.

Level 2 offence

A level 2 offence creates a substantial risk of danger and includes excessive speeding, racing other road users, prolonged use of a mobile phone or other device and driving while under the influence of alcohol or medication.

The starting point for sentencing is 5 years in prison. The range is 4-7 years.

Level 3 offence

Level 3 offences involve driving that causes a significant risk of danger, such as speeding, knowingly driving a car with defects and being distracted by a mobile phone.

The starting point for sentencing is 3 years in prison. The range is 2-5 years.

You will also be disqualified from driving.

The court may take into account mitigating factors, as above, as well as aggravating factors, including:

  • Previous motoring offences, especially those that involve drinking, drugs or bad driving
  • Where more than one death occurred
  • Serious injury to one or more other victims, in addition to the death
  • Other offences, such as the vehicle being stolen, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance or taking without consent
  • Ignoring warnings
  • Failing to stop after the accident or other wrongful behaviour such as claiming it was the fault of the victim
  • Leaving the scene of the accident in an attempt to avoid being identified or apprehended

What should I do if I have been accused of causing death by dangerous driving?

If you have been accused of dangerous driving, you are strongly advised to seek legal advice immediately because of the seriousness of the offence. Involving an expert criminal defence solicitor from the start will give you the best possible chance of putting your case strongly and securing evidence of any mitigating factors.

At Stephen Rimmer LLP, our experienced criminal defence team are ready to help, to include answering emergency call-outs out of hours.

For more information about our services, see our motoring defence solicitors page.

Get in touch for 24/7 causing death by dangerous driving representation

Our criminal defence lawyers have a high level of expertise in dealing with death by dangerous driving cases. We will hold the prosecution to the highest standards of evidence and ensure you have a robust defence.

Based in offices in Eastbourne and Hastings, our criminal defence solicitors support clients all across East Sussex, including in Bexhill-on-Sea, Hailsham, Polegate, Battle, Pevensey and St Leonards-on-Sea.

For immediate expert death by dangerous driving advice and representation, please use the contact details below to get in touch:

How can we help you?

Call us today on 01323 644222 to get the specialist help you need.