Death whilst driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured
Causing death whilst driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured is a serious motoring offence, if dealt with by a Crown Court the maximum sentence is 2 years of imprisonment. If you have been accused of causing death whilst driving unlicensed speak to one of our motoring offence solicitors call us on 0203 816 9274 or complete our online enquiry form.
The level of the sentence imposed will be largely determined by the presence of aggravating features or additional mitigating features. It is therefore imperative that if you are charged with this offence, you seek specialist advice regarding mitigation from a motoring offence expert.
If you are being investigated for this offence, you should seek specialist legal advice as early as possible in order to protect your interests. We can assist you from the very outset of an investigation; accompany you to the police station for interview; and, represent you in court.
This offence has only recently come into force and already issues have been raised as to what circumstances allow a prosecution to be made. It is therefore essential that you obtain legal representation so that you can ensure you have the best chance of successfully defending the charge.
Contact Stephensons by completing our online enquiry form or call our 24/7 driving offence helpline on 0203 816 9274.
Frequently asked questions
What is causing death by dangerous driving?
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that "a person who causes death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence".
Causing death by driving is divided into four offences, which are:
- Causing death by dangerous driving
- Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs
- Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving; and
- Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers.
In the eyes of the law, causing the death of an individual, whether they are a pedestrian, passenger, another road user or a member of the emergency services, is a serious offence that usually carries a jail sentence. For an offence to be considered ‘dangerous driving’, the driver’s regard for the laws, the rules of the road and the safety of other road users must fall ‘far’ below what is generally considered acceptable standards by a competent driver.
Causing death by dangerous driving is a complex area of law. For a conviction to be imposed by the court the prosecution will have to establish that the death would not have occurred were it not for the driver driving dangerously. This may not be as easy to prove as it sounds and the sequence and the timeline of events is integral. A common approach to defending such an allegation is by establishing that you did not drive in the manner alleged by the prosecution. There is often a large evidential difference between what is alleged by the prosecution and what actually happened. This is where the knowledge of an experienced motoring solicitor can be invaluable.
What is the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous or intoxicated driving?
The maximum prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving or careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs is currently 14 years. If an offender pleads guilty to this offence, they may have their sentence reduced by up to a third. Whatever the sentence given by the court, the offender will experience a period of driving disqualification and a compulsory extended driving license re-test will be imposed once the period of disqualification is over.
When it comes to the sentencing, the judge or magistrate will consider the following:
- How responsible the offender was for what happened
- Other offences committed at the same time. (E.g. 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 whether the victim was a close friend or relative
- The circumstances and history of the offender (e.g previous convictions or previous good character)
- Giving assistance at the scene and showing remorse.
Depending on the sentence, typically, an offender will only serve around half of their sentence in prison and the other half on licence in the community. However, if the offender breaches their conditions or breaks the law again whilst on license, they may end up being sent back to prison.
Careless driving vs dangerous driving: what is the difference?
The difference between careless driving and dangerous driving is:
Careless driving - ‘Falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.’
Dangerous driving - ‘Falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.’
These two offences may sound similar but, in the eyes of the law, they are very different. They carry vastly contrasting sentences if an offender is found guilty. Careless driving generally means driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users. This can include offences such as not stopping at a red light, overtaking on the inside (known as undertaking), sudden braking and driving while avoidably distracted.
Dangerous driving is a far more serious offence than careless driving and can carry a prison sentence even if you do not cause an accident or injure or kill anyone. Examples of dangerous driving include:
- Driving or racing aggressively
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving when you know you are not fit to drive
- Driving a vehicle which you know has a defect
- Dangerous overtaking
If you kill or seriously injure a person while committing a dangerous driving offence, it is likely you will receive a prison sentence, as well as a driving ban for a period of time. If you are facing a charge for dangerous driving you will need legal representation; contact one of our dangerous driving solicitors on 0203 816 9274.