If you’re reading this page, then you’re probably wondering what happens after you’ve been involved in a traffic accident. You might have already been charged by police, or you might be waiting for them to contact you.
Your accident might have been because you were driving poorly on the road, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or acting out of road rage. But you might have simply made a mistake, or done nothing wrong.
Whatever the case might be, it is vital that you engage an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you and protect your future.
Careless vs dangerous driving
When investigating a traffic incident, police can choose to charge you with either careless driving, or dangerous driving. The main distinction between these two offences is that dangerous driving is a criminal offence (called Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle) whereas careless driving is a traffic offence (called Careless Driving of Motor Vehicles).
This has very important implications for the outcome and your ultimate sentence.
Careless or dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm
If you’ve been charged with careless or dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm (GBH), then it’s extremely important that you engage our services immediately.
For careless driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, the penalties for the offences have recently been doubled. You can now face up to 2 years imprisonment for the offence, and 6 months off the road as the minimum starting point. Recent experience has shown that imprisonment is within range for the offence, even if it was an accident.
For dangerous driving causing death or serious injury, jail is usually the only possible outcome, but that’s not inevitable, which is why it is vital to engage our services straight away.
Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle
The maximum penalty for a “simple” offence of dangerous driving is between 3 and 5 years imprisonment plus a minimum 6 month licence disqualification. Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm or death has a maximum penalty of between 10 and 14 years imprisonment.
In order for your driving to be considered “dangerous” police must be able to prove you were speeding or driving in a way which was dangerous to the public. That comes down to a consideration of a number of factors such as the condition of the road and vehicle, the number of people or cars around, and whether there was any alcohol or drugs involved.
Careless driving of motor vehicles
To be charged with careless driving of a motor vehicle, police must prove that you drove “without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road”. This is a less serious allegation than driving dangerously, and might involve situations where you’ve lost control of a car or been involved in an accident because of excessive speeding or inattention.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 6 months imprisonment for a simple offence, 1 year where death or grievous bodily harm is caused, and 2 years if you were unlicensed when you caused death or grievous bodily harm.
There is a minimum licence disqualification of 6 months for these offences, in addition to the penalty imposed.
Driving offence lawyers
Because of the increased media attention and the rise of dashcam footage, these types of offences are easier to prove, and have resulted in harsher and harsher penalties. With us on your side, we can ensure that everything possible is done to ensure you receive the minimum penalty. If we think it can be done, we negotiate hard for you to have charges downgraded or dropped.
We use our connections with providers of road safety programs such as QTOP to show you’ve taken steps to address what happened. We gather high quality references from your close friends, family and employers to establish your genuine remorse and consequences of sentencing on you.
In addition, if drugs or alcohol had a part to play, we ensure that you receive any necessary medical intervention. Referrals to psychologists and psychiatrists can help reduce the penalty if applicable to your circumstances. We also ensure we have explored every detail of your personal life to keep you out of jail and moving forward with your life.
With George Criminal Lawyers on your side, you can rest assured that your future is in the safest possible hands.
Contact us now to get started. Your future depends on it.