Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving

The Government has recently introduced the offence of “Causing serious injury by dangerous driving.”  The offence is defined as follows:
“A person who causes serious injury to another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.”
In the Magistrates’ Court, the maximum sentence can be up to six months in prison, whilst in the Crown Court, the maximum sentence can be up to five years in prison.
The offence has been introduced to attempt to plug the gap between dangerous driving, with a maximum sentence of two years and death by dangerous driving, with a maximum sentence of fourteen years.
Judges were finding that in some cases, although they involved seriously dangerous driving and the victim suffered horrific injuries, perhaps even put into a vegetative state, the Court’s hands were tied. As there was no fatality, a maximum sentence of only two years could be handed out when arguably longer was warranted.  With the same level of driving but when a victim died, the Court was able to hand out longer sentences which arguably merited the crime.  It was for this reason that the Government felt a ‘middle ground’ offence was required.
Jared Dunbar, Dyne Solicitors Limited
01 July 2013

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