Legal advice on facing a fatal motoring offence charge?

We recognise that facing serious allegations such as causing death by driving can be a stressful ordeal. That’s why we’ll treat your case with the utmost care and attention.

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According to the Department of Transport, in the UK there were 1,770 road deaths in the year ending June 2018 (pdf) - that's a 3% increase on the previous year.

Dangerous and careless driving are serious offences and courts issue severe penalties to individuals found guilty. And where this is found to have caused death, the court can hand down substantial prison sentences.

If you have been charged with a fatal motoring offence and want representation, legal advice, or to contend the charge, First4Lawyers can help.

What is a fatal motoring offence?

To be found guilty of causing death by driving, the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the death of another person was caused – either in part or completely – by your driving. There are four categories that fatal offences can fall into:

The court views dangerous driving as any instance in which your standard of driving has fallen far below that expected of a competent and careful driver. Examples include racing, driving aggressively, overtaking in an unsafe manner, ignoring traffic signals, and driving in a vehicle you know is in a dangerous condition.

There are various other acts that might constitute dangerous driving in the eyes of the court, and each case is judged on its own merits. Fatal offence charges are always dealt with at a Crown Court.

What are the penalties for fatal motoring offences?

The maximum penalty that can be issued for causing death by dangerous driving is a prison sentence of 14 years and a driving ban of at least two years and an unlimited fine.

Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and an unlimited fine. However, if you are found guilty of having caused death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, the penalty is likely to be more severe – up to 14 years imprisonment, with a minimum two-year driving ban and an unlimited fine.

Meanwhile, causing death while driving in a vehicle that was unlicensed, or if you were disqualified from driving or uninsured at the time of the accident, is punishable with penalties ranging from a community order, through to a two-year prison sentence, a 12-month driving ban and a discretionary re-test.

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What are the defences to fatal driving offences?

Fatal offences are typically complex in nature, and the court likely must be convinced of a number of key points in order for a prosecution to be successfully made against you.

If you can persuade the court that the incident was caused by a momentary lapse, rather than a sustained period of careless or dangerous driving, then there is a chance that the court may show leniency in sentencing.

The penalties issued in fatal offence cases are at the court’s discretion, and are based on how the court views the standard of driving that caused the incident.

If you can convince the court that no recklessness was shown, and that you didn’t show a complete disregard for safety, then these factors may be treated as mitigating features in your case.

Likewise, if your defence can prove that there was only a single incident of dangerous or careless driving, rather than multiple acts, this will help your case.

It is important to ensure you have good, experienced legal representation when facing a fatal motoring offence. First4Lawyers can match you to a knowledgeable solicitor, skilled in this area of the law.

A good defence team will be able to recognise when there may be the opportunity to negotiate with the prosecution for a lesser charge.

For example, a guilty plea to causing death by careless driving, in a case where the original charge of dangerous driving was difficult to prove, might lead to a reduced, non-custodial sentence.

I’ve been charged with a fatal driving offence and I want to dispute it – what should I do?

Fatal offence charges are serious and complex, but the specialist motoring solicitors from First4Lawyers can help you every step of the way and give you a full understanding of the strongest defence available to you.

Our solicitors can help with the arrangement of investigations into the crash you were involved in, and we offer no-obligation advice to anyone who contacts us regarding a fatal offence charge.

Contact First4Lawyers as early as possible so that no time is wasted in building your defence.

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866

Need a hand? First4Lawyers will...

  • Review your legal requirements for free
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