Thursday, 23 September 2010

Maximum sentence for dangerous driving is 2 years imprisonment ...

The maximum sentence of imprisonment for dangerous driving is 2 years.  It is not enough as this case shows - Daily Mail 23rd September 2010.


  1. Firstly isn't there anything else he could have been charged with? If it hadn't been a car, but say a boat, and the injuries had been caused by recklessness, what would the charge have been?

    Secondly, couldn't he be sentencing the other four offences consecutively? With a little more imagination surely this could be solved.

    Of course it would go a long way if "two years" meant two years as opposed to one year...

  2. Causing a death by dangerous driving used to be called "Motor Manslaughter" - that description should be revived, along with calling the kind of injuries caused in this case "Motor Grievous Bodily Harm"

    Does anybody think that the convict in this case will stay away from the steering wheel of a car for ten years?

    Unfortunately this case will be virtually forgotten about the day after tomorrow.

  3. @Ben - this man was charged with dangerous driving; aggravated taking without consent; driving without licence; driving without insurance; failing to provide a speciment; making off without payment.

    On the dangerous driving charge, the magistrates would have declined jurisdiction and committed the matter to the Crown Court. When this happens the other - summary only offences - go with it. That enables the defendant to be dealt with on the totality of his offending.

    It is not entirely clear to me how the judge got to 26 months but the principal charge is clearly the dangerous driving and that would account for the lion's share of the overall sentence.

    It is normal sentencing practice to take account of the "totality principle" so that sentences for multiple offences arising out of the same course of conduct are not simply added up.

    However, where events are clearly consecutive in time then a consecutive sentence would be ordered.

    The aggravated taking without consent would, on these facts, carry a maximum of 2 years imprisonment. The aggravation arises because the offender drove it dangerously.

    Speaking entirely personally, I have some sympathy with the idea of making sentences mean what they say. The "half time" rule seems to somehow make a mockery of sentencing. Again, personally, I also think that the discounts for guilty pleas are too high but they are clearly aimed at encouraging people to plead guilty and avoid trials.

    @ Westengland - if death results from driving it would still be possible to bring a manslaughter charge. This has not been done for a long time since parliament enacted "causing death by reckless driving" which later became "causing death by dangerous driving." The experience was that juries were reluctant to convict motorists of manslaughter. Whether that would still be the case is a moot point.

    The man in question may have to stay away from cars for longer than 10 years if he does not pass the extended driving test which will be required before he can ever drive again. The disqual. will be 10 years AND until the extended retest is passed. Whether he will stay away from sriving again is another matter. If he does not then he would be guilty of driving whilst disqualified. Unfortunately, that is a summary only offence with a maximum penalty of 6 months. It could be argued that the law should be amended to permit a stiffer penalty in cases where a person breaches a Crown Court imposed disqualification.

    Hopefully, the case will not be forgotten. the judge has raised it with the government and they may choose to act on what the judge has said.