Death by Driving
We have years of experience of successfully defending Death by Driving cases.
For free initial advice call 0800 999 5535
Causing death by driving is the most serious offence you’ll face as a driver. You’ll be arrested and have to appear at Crown Court.
If you’re facing prosecution and you’re not sure what to do, we can advise you on which of the four death by driving offence categories yours will be placed into, the sentencing you’ll face and the defences you can make.
What are the four death by driving offence categories?
If arrested and charged, the offence will be placed into one of the following categories:
- Causing death by dangerous driving
- Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs
- Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving
- Causing death by driving while disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured
What is classed as dangerous driving?
Offences classed as dangerous driving are:
- Driving aggressively
- Ignoring the speed limit
- Disregarding traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and road signs
- Driving too fast in inappropriate traffic conditions or weather
- Driving while knowingly deprived of sufficient sleep or rest
- Operating a vehicle knowing it is poorly maintained or has a dangerous defect
- Overtaking which could have been carried out safely
- Undertaking other vehicles
- Driving a dangerously loaded vehicle
What factors will the judge consider during sentencing?
Death by dangerous driving is the most serious offence you’ll face as a driver. You’ll be arrested and tried by the Crown Court.
The judge will decide the severity of your punishment based on the following factors:
- The degree of responsibility of the offender
- Other offences committed at the time, including driving a stolen vehicle or failing to stop
- The serious harm caused by the offence, including whether more than one person was killed or injured
- Whether the offender was seriously injured or was a close friend or relative of the victim
- The circumstances and history of the offender, including helping at the scene, showing remorse, previous convictions and previous good character
How long is the sentence for death by driving?
Depending on the classification of death by driving, the sentence will differ:
- Death by dangerous driving: 14-years maximum
- Death by careless or inconsiderate driving: 5-years
- Death by driving while disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured: 2-years
If you plead guilty, the judge may reduce your sentence by up to one-third, depending on how early your plea was made. A specialised solicitor, like Keep My Driving Licence, can advise you where this is necessary.
In ‘low fault’ cases, it may be decided you weren’t entirely at fault, a community service sentence or a fine may be deemed adequate punishment.
All death by driving sentences include disqualification from driving punishments.
If sentenced for causing death by driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, you must sit a compulsory extended test before regaining your licence. For those sentenced for causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured, a discretionary test is advised.
The disqualification period begins at the moment of sentencing or enforcement, not from the date of the offenders’ release from prison.
How much of the sentence will I serve?
By law, you’ll serve half of your sentence in prison and half on licence in the community. While on licence, if you commit a crime or break the conditions of your licence, you’ll be sent back to prison.
If you receive a community service sentence, you’re likely to be under supervision and expected to undertake unpaid work.
Why is legal advice important?
Your best chance of a strong defence is hiring a legal team with experience in winning road offence lawsuits.
And your best chance is with Keep My Driving Licence.
Our solicitors will review your case and, with our knowledge and expertise, give you the best representation possible.
Death by Driving – FAQs
1: Why should I employ a specialised solicitor?
A specialised solicitor has experience of defending clients accused of death by driving offences.
2: How can a specialised solicitor help?
A specialised solicitor, like ourselves, have vast experience with death by driving cases. Keep My Driving Licence has helped previous clients have:
- Cases terminated
- Charges lowered
- Sentences reduced
Death by driving is one of the most serious offences you can be charged with, so you must employ a specialist in road offence law.
3: What will the police investigate following a death by driving?
Following the incident, the police will investigate the crime scene and take into consideration the state of the road surface, weather conditions at the time of the incident and the condition of the vehicles involved.
They’ll also interview witnesses, as well as interview the drivers and passengers.
Their findings will then be collected and referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, where a decision will be made as to whether there’s sufficient evidence to bring charges.
4: The police have requested an interview. Should I go?
If you weren’t arrested at the crime scene, then you don’t need to attend a police interview.
However, if they request an interview and you’re unwilling to cooperate, although this is your right, it’ll look unfavourable should you be arrested at a later date.
If requested to attend an interview, you must seek legal representation. The answers you give may affect the result of your case. During a police interview, Keep My Driving Licence lawyers will advise you to ensure the best possible outcome.
5: What must the prosecution prove in case of causing death by dangerous driving?
The prosecution must prove your driving was dangerous and was a contributing cause in the death of another person.
The prosecution, however, doesn’t have to prove it was the only or primary cause.
6: How will a specialised solicitor defend my case?
A specialist solicitor will examine the factual evidence to challenge the prosecution’s case. They’ll collect:
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Expert witnesses
- Accident reports
The case they build is called a Defence Statement and demonstrates to the court that your driving either didn’t fall below the standard of a reasonable and competent driver. It will also highlight any concerns with the prosecution’s case.
A thorough and well-prepared Defence Statement is extremely powerful and can result in the termination of the case or charges being reduced.
7: What is the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving?
The maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving is 14-years.
8: Is death by dangerous driving manslaughter?
Yes, if you cause death by dangerous or careless driving, this is known as vehicular manslaughter.
9: How long does death by dangerous driving stay on your record?
10: Will I go to jail for dangerous driving?
If you’re sentenced for death by dangerous driving, yes, you may face a prison sentence up to a maximum of 14-years.
However, if the judge deems you at ‘low fault’, you may receive a community service sentence or a fine.
Should I drive to Court?
This depends on your plea: Yes, if you are pleading not guilty. No, if you are to be sentenced for an offence that carries a mandatory disqualification.
Our advice is that anyone who faces the possibility of a period of disqualification, no matter how small, should not drive to Court.
The Police Officer said that if I instruct a Solicitor I can avoid a disqualification, is this true?
This can be true in a lot of cases, however, if it is your intention to plead guilty to an offence that carries a mandatory period of disqualification, then the Magistrates have no discretion not to impose a period of disqualification.
I really need my car for my job, will the Court let me keep my licence?
If you are facing a disqualification for accumulating 12 penalty points or more (‘totting up’) or facing a sentence that carries a discretionary disqualification, then it is possible to persuade the Magistrates not to disqualify you. However, if you are to be sentenced for an offence that carries a mandatory disqualification, like driving with excess alcohol for example, then these types of offences carry a mandatory disqualification and the Magistrates have no discretion. In those circumstances you will only avoid a ban if your case is successfully defended after a not guilty plea.
Do you cover cases on Legal Aid?
No. All our cases are on a private paying fixed fee basis. We will tell you what your exact fees will be before you engage us. We cover Courts throughout England and Wales. Only general Criminal Defence Solicitors (not road traffic specialists) based in an area close to where your Court case is, will have a Legal Aid Contract. You may not be eligible for Legal Aid in any event. The two tests for whether you are eligible for Legal Aid are
- Whether you are financially eligible
- Whether it is in the interest of Justice for you to receive Legal Aid for the offence that you are due to appear before the Court for. For almost all road traffic matters you will not be eligible for Legal Aid as for a lot of cases the Sentence is a financial penalty and either penalty points or a disqualification.
Will I have to say anything in Court?
Once we are instructed by you, we will advise you of the precise Court procedure. If you are pleading guilty to an offence, then you will only have to confirm your name and enter your plea. We will present the mitigation on your behalf.
If you are pleading not guilty, you may have to give evidence at your Trial, but you will be guided by Millars Solicitors.
What are my chances, can you give me a percentage?
We would not give a client their chance of success in a percentage. We would not give a client their chance of success in a percentage, as this is not realistic. We provide all clients with a comprehensive assessment of their case and we are instructed on the basis that the client has been advised of their chances of success.
Will the Police or witnesses be in Court?
Need advice from a motoring offence specialist?
If you’re facing death by driving charges, Keep My Driving Licence would like to defend you.
We’ll look at the facts of your case, explain the possible outcomes and support you when you need it most.
From Our Clients
A totting up ban is when you have accrued 12 or more penalty points on your licence over a three year period. When this happens, you’re likely to receive a driving ban unless you can cite exceptional hardship.
In this article, we’ll explain totting up bans in detail, the penalties you might face and what you can do to overturn the decision.
Been caught drink driving and want to appeal? Keep My Driving Licence can advise you on your rights of appeal and could get your conviction reduced, reheard or quashed.
The BBC has reported Mobile phone loophole for filming drivers 'to be closed' The government plans to close a legal loophole that has allowed drivers who use mobile phones to film or take photographs to escape prosecution. It is illegal for drivers to call or text on...
About Keep my Driving Licence
Keep my Driving Licence is part of Millars Solicitors who are a specialist firm of road traffic and drink driving solicitors who represent motorists all over the country.
Formed by Carl Millar, Millars Solicitors has adopted his dogged tenacity and exacting technical understanding of motoring law. Before starting Millars Solicitors, Carl has been employed as the Head of Department at some of the most high profile Motoring Law Firms in the country. He is a member of the Society of Motoring Lawyers and has an enviable nationwide reputation for the results he gets for his clients.
Through representing a wide range of people you will find Carl and his team very approachable and never judgemental. Their advice is straightforward and will leave no stone unturned in pursuing all available defences in presenting your case.
If you have been caught drink driving you can contact Carl today on 0800 999 5535 or you can send a confidential email by clicking here. If you need to speak to a drink driving solicitor out of office hours than please call the 24 hour emergency line on 07855 806119.