Charged with Death By Driving? – What you Need to Know | Smith Bowyer Clarke

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Charged with Death By Driving? – What you Need to Know

If you have just killed someone in your motor car your life has just changed forever. You may already be dealing with some of the issues caused; physical and mental injury, shock, guilt, and social condemnation. Other issues will crowd in, of lesser and greater importance, as time goes by and one of the most important is the criminal consequences of what has just happened.

The most likely Criminal charges that you will face are: Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, Causing Death by Careless Driving whilst impaired by alcohol or drugs, or Causing Death by Careless Driving. These are all very serious offences and the starting point for each is a lengthy prison sentence, unless you are at the very bottom end of the scale.

What do I need to do?

  1. You need a lawyer. DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE INTERVIEWED BY THE POLICE WITHOUT ONE PRESENT. You are entitled to free legal advice at the police station. Take Advice!
  2. You are probably entitled to Legal Aid which will be a cheaper route to legal representation than paying all of your legal fees yourself, but you may be required to pay a contribution to your Legal Aid, dependant on what you earn. Your insurance may also provide legal representation – check with them.
  3. Listen to the advice that you are given – it is essential to do so; the outcome of your case may very well depend on what you were advised and whether you took that advice. So you will have to make some very important decisions, very early on in the proceedings and these decisions may be life changing for you.

Guilty Plea

  • In some cases you will be guilty of the offence as charged. If this is the case you must indicate this plea at the earliest opportunity. Such a plea is worth one third off any sentence which would have been imposed if you had been found guilty after a trial, but to obtain this ‘discount’ you MUST enter the plea at the Magistrates Court. Later guilty pleas attract a sliding scale of reductions in sentence, dependant upon when the guilty plea is entered, so one quarter off if entered at the first appearance in the Crown Court and even less, the later you leave it. You cannot put remorse and contrition before the court if you wait around before entering your plea.
  • That difference will be of enormous importance if you fall to be sentenced to 7 years or more, as sentences of that magnitude mean you serving two thirds of your sentence rather than the half you would serve if you received a term below that length.
  • The relatives of the deceased will probably be in court and are entitled to make, and read or have read to the court those statements, which will describe  the impact of your driving and how it has affected their lives. These are always harrowing.
  • The Judge will sentence according to the sentencing guidelines. Those for Death by Dangerous Driving can be found here: Causing death by dangerous driving – Sentencing (


  • If you are not guilty then you will need to prepare for trial. This will be a long, drawn-out process where you will be in the spotlight. Presently it takes months or years to conclude. You will almost certainly require expert evidence with which to challenge the prosecution case – who would almost certainly have instructed expert traffic police officers to investigate. Should you instruct SBC we will be able to provide continuity of care from the police station to the end of the case.

Why Use SBC?

  • SBC have years of specialised experience in defending serious road traffic offences. We have close working relationships with some of the top experts in the field, some of whom do not accept legal aid-funded work. Note that SBC does not undertake legal aid work but we are able to refer you to more generalist practices who do undertake public-funded work.
  • We have our own highly specialist in-house barristers and are also able to instruct specialist barristers from the independent bar; advocates who, like our own in-house specialists, have years of experience in challenging expert evidence and presenting evidence to juries that points to the defence way of things.
  • These are cases where the right solicitors, the right barrister, and the right expert can make all the difference in securing the best possible outcome in your case.

If you want a free initial consultation to speak to one of our lawyers about your case the give us a call on 01332 987420

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