It is often the case that drivers who are charged with careless driving simply plead guilty and accept the associated punishment, as they believe that contesting such allegations will be fruitless. Those who do so will find themselves subject to a fine and an endorsement of between three and nine penalty points, which in some cases can lead to disqualification from driving if they already have points on their licence. However, a conviction in these circumstances is not a foregone conclusion, and those who elect to contest such charges may be able to do so on a number of grounds.
If you believe that there are mitigating circumstances, or that disqualification from driving will have a disproportionately harmful impact upon your life, it is of the utmost importance that you consult a solicitor experienced in defending road traffic cases as soon as possible. Wilford Smith’s Criminal Defence Team provides legal representation in relation to a wide range of road traffic offences. Contact our specialist defence team today to find out how we can help.
What is careless driving?
The law defines careless driving as the driving of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care or attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place. Conduct will amount to careless driving if it falls below the standard that would be expected of a careful and competent driver, causing other people to be inconvenienced as a consequence. A wide range of behaviours can amount to careless driving, and this area of the law is constantly evolving. Examples include:
- driving too fast;
- operating a Sat Nav device while driving;
- lane hogging;
- eating or drinking while driving;
- ignoring road signs; and
- driving through a red light by accident.
What are the penalties for careless driving?
As of 2013, careless driving is a fixed-penalty offence, but for more serious offences it is possible that the case will be heard in court.
When police officers observe an incidence of low-level careless driving, they will issue a fixed penalty. This is likely to be incidents when the careless driving does not result in a collision or an injury to a member of the public. The fixed penalty for careless driving involves a fine and points on the driver’s licence. If you decide to challenge the issuing of a fixed penalty your case will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
Those charged with careless driving can also be given a fixed penalty with the offer of educational training. In such cases, a driver will be offered the chance to accept a fixed penalty or attend an educational driving course.
In cases of careless driving which are considered to be more serious, where a driver’s conduct is considered to be particularly dangerous or aggressive, a court summons will be issued. A driver can choose to plead guilty and accept a fine or to contest the charge in the Magistrates’ Court.
Sentencing following a conviction for careless driving will depend on all the circumstances of the case. Relevant factors might include:
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- speeding far in excess of the speed limit;
- driving without a licence or insurance;
- previous road traffic convictions;
- injuries caused by the incident; and
- the age of the driver.
Contact our Careless Driving Defence Solicitors in Sheffield and London Today
Wilford Smith's Criminal Defence Team provides its clients with a service that is exceptionally strategic and results-driven, and can attract the highest calibre barristers to provide support when necessary. Our solicitors appear in court regularly, providing representation from the first hearing through to trial, dealing with a wide range of cases involving road traffic offences. Accessing quality legal advice from experienced road traffic solicitors as soon as possible provides you with much-needed reassurance at a difficult time, as well as giving you the best chance of avoiding a driving ban and other serious repercussions.
Our Criminal Defence Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London and provide advice and representation to clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.