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Sentencing for death by dangerous driving offences

What is the sentence for death by dangerous driving offences in 2024?

If you have accidentally caused the death of a person while being behind the wheel, you may be charged by the police with Death by Dangerous Driving or you may be given a charge of Death by Careless Driving.

Being involved in a fatal road accident is very stressful. There may be other factors involved in the incident. For instance, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, or even using a mobile phone while in charge of operating a motor vehicle, will compound your concerns.

If you or somebody you care for is involved in a legal situation of this nature, it’s vital that you seek the guidance of a competent legal professional such as a driving offences lawyer. Engaging legal advice will provide you with the support you need to get through the various stages of the investigation and any potential court appearances.

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of death by dangerous driving, we’ve put together details on the sentencing guidelines below.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Read more information about the offence of Death by dangerous driving

Have you been charged or arrested for Death by Dangerous Driving? 

If you’re currently looking at a charge or an arrest for death by dangerous driving, you’ll be feeling worried about what might happen next. Of course, it’s hard to handle the police and insurance investigators at a time like this.

The idea of going to jail or carrying a criminal record can be very concerning. You’ll need to consider how your dependents will manage with a drop in income. How will the criminal record affect your future?

Now is the time to engage the services of a motoring offences solicitor. They will be able to support you and guide you through the legal challenges before you.

What happens in the case of Death By Dangerous Driving? 

The role of the prosecution in the death by dangerous driving court case is to prove that you did offend so that you can be found guilty and convicted. The prosecutors will work hard on convincing the jury that your driving is dangerous to anybody who is reasonably competent at driving.

An example of dangerous driving actions might be:

  • Driving at high speeds
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving aggressively or in too close proximity to other vehicles
  • Being distracted by a communication device or a car radio
  • Overtaking at high speeds or in a dangerous and illegal position
  • Undertaking other vehicles
  • Ignoring traffic markings and road signs
  • Driving an unroadworthy vehicle

The role of your lawyer will be to put forward facts and arguments that prove that you were not driving your vehicle in the dangerous manner that the prosecution is stating.

The approach of the lawyer will be to gather the facts about what happened. They will then begin to collect statements from witnesses, expert reports and are likely to carry out a reconstruction of the accident and scene.

Although every case of death by dangerous driving is different, the right lawyer will be able to skillfully guide you and the case to get the best possible outcome. Knowing that you have the best person supporting you will give you peace of mind.

What if I am being falsely accused of being involved?

Some of the cases that our motoring offences lawyers take on are clients who have are being falsely accused of offending. If this is what you’re going through, then engaging a robust legal team to back you up should be your priority.

What is the sentence for death by dangerous driving?

Typical sentences for this offence are anywhere between five years and fourteen years. Receiving a sentence like this would have a devastating impact on anybody who is found guilty and convicted of this offence. Another penalty that the court has the power to impose is a disqualification from driving. A ban of this nature can be for a minimum of two years. You will also most likely to be forced to retake your driving test.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce a death by dangerous driving sentence?

When the sentence for death by dangerous driving conviction is decided, several elements are considered in each case. In brief, there will be consideration of the injury, the intent to harm behind the injury, the level of violence and what the previous offending history is of the accused.

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Your previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any severe medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents
  • There may also be an opportunity to be handed a reduced sentence with a guilty plea

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for death by dangerous driving with a guilty plea?

In recent years, a number of changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

  • ‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.
  • If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one-fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has the discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.
  • After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one-tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten per cent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.
  • If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of death by dangerous driving offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an offence. These are extra elements that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that affect a dependent’s finances, property or activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of death by dangerous driving include:

  • Compensation for the family of the victim

As part of your investigation, you may have your vehicle seized, or your communication devices if they can provide the prosecutors with evidence that they can use against you.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work undertaken to obtain sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing of witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of death by dangerous driving, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Our Criminal Solicitors have experience in defending Death by Dangerous Driving Allegations and will be able to deliver the support and advice you need.

As one of the largest Criminal Solicitors’ Firms in the UK, we know how important it is for you to receive the highest standards of legal services and we will make sure that you get them. With our young and dynamic team of passionate Lawyers, we will ensure that every piece of evidence is followed to try and get a better outcome for you.

How we defend Death By Dangerous Driving allegations

We will scrutinise the prosecution’s evidence, identify unlawfully obtained evidence, challenge the admissibility of evidence and contest the testimony of witnesses who may be lying. We will instruct specialist crash site and accident reconstruction experts to pick out any small grain of evidence which will support your defence case.

Our Criminal Solicitors will work with you to understand the entire circumstances surrounding the offence and to draw out any other evidence which could assist. We will prepare you for the day you are required to give evidence and stand in the witness box, a critical event which can make or break a case.

Always seeking to apply as many legal minds to a case as possible, we will instruct some of the most talented and brilliant Criminal Barristers to present your case to the Court, to persuade the jury and keep the prosecutor in check.

Stuart Miller Solicitors have been defending death by dangerous driving charges for more than 30 years, having achieved significant and substantial acquittals. We take a very pro-active approach to protecting our clients. We don’t believe in a re-active attitude when there is so much at stake.

How we defend death by dangerous driving prosecutions

We are experts at developing strong defences and capturing all evidence that can be used in your defence. The prosecutor’s case will be scrutinised and so will any CCTV evidence that has been produced. Our knowledge, expertise and experience will challenge the admissibility and legality of your case and evidence.

Any unlawfully obtained evidence will be contested, as will the credibility of witnesses be challenged. Any evidence that can be used to defend you will be collected whether this means knocking on doors, looking for witnesses or trawling through CCTV material from third parties. Our criminal solicitors will do what is required for the development of a case strategy.

It’s critical that you are appropriately represented by a legal professional as soon as you find out that you’re being charged or accused of death by dangerous driving.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our criminal lawyers or experts in death by dangerous driving offence solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for possession of death by dangerous driving legal help.


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