Careless & Dangerous Driving Charges in Scotland

24 October 2017

What are the differences, both in terms of manner of driving, and consequences for drivers when facing a charge of either dangerous or Careless Driving

The charge of Careless Driving is defined in s3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as driving without care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users. The test is whether the driving fell below the standard of a competent and careful driver. Dangerous Driving on the other hand is defined as driving that falls far below the standard of a competent and careful driver, and that would obviously seem dangerous to a competent and careful driver.

So it would seem then that there is no clear list of what actions will make distinguish one matter from being either dangerous or Carless. What is very different between the two however is the disposals available to the courts for each charge, and in turn the effect being guilty could have on the driver.

The penalty for a conviction of Careless Driving is 3-9 penalty points, or even discretionary disqualification, along with a fine of up to £2500. The charge does not attract a prison sentence, unlike that of Dangerous Driving, which can carry a prison sentence of up to 2 years. Such a disposal will using only be reserved for offences at the higher end of the scale, but even at the lower end of the scale the consequences of being found guilty of Dangerous Driving will be a mandatory disqualification for at least one year, together with a fine, and order that you must re-sit an extended drivers test before being allowed to drive again.

What is clear then is that regardless of whether you are charged with Dangerous Driving or Careless Driving, it can mean that you may lose your licence, either through outright disqualification, or through the Totting Up procedure

It is important to note that no accident need have occurred to be charged with either Dangerous Driving or Careless Driving. And often, given the fact that there has been no accident Drivers will be shocked when the police charge them, having little or no idea what they have been charged for, never mind what they have been charged with!?!

Drivers should be aware however that where no accident has occurred, police are legally obliged to issue a warning in terms of s1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, which will likely indicate to driver what the police are charging them with. It should be noted that the Procurator Fiscals still retains discretion which charge to proceed with, but in instances where there has not been an accident, then conviction for certain offences, including Carless and Dangerous Driving, should not be competent unless a sufficient s1 warning has been administered to the accused within 14 days of the alleged offence. This is a very important point, as often a case can go to trial if there is some uncertainty as to whether a S1 warning has been appropriately given, and the timings and manner in which this notice has been given.

Road Traffic LAW is clearly a highly technical area of law. An expert Road Traffic Lawyer will establish from police witnesses whether due process has been carried out, and if not, a challenge conviction through the legislative competency of the charge. And this is before looking at evidential grounds, or special defences which might be available to the driver; Special defences such as necessity or duress. This is why we say “even when your guilty, you have more options than you think”…

So whether you are charged with Dangerous Driving or Careless Driving, don’t take a chance with your liberty and livelihood. Call our Award winning Road Traffic Team for expert advice and representation.

Call our Expert Road Traffic Lawyers, Glasgow, Hamilton, Paisley, Lanark & Dumfries Today

With such serious penalties available to the court, don’t take any risks and contact us now! We cover all areas of Scotland including Glasgow, Hamilton, Lanark, Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Inverness, Bearsden, Bothwell, Uddingston, Stirling, Milngavie & Dumfries.

Call our expert Road Traffic Defence Team in Glasgow and Hamilton today on 0141 413 5523 or fill out our online formand we will call you back as soon as possible.