Is Dangerous Driving A Magistrates Court Offence?

 

Question:

I have been charged with dangerous driving, will my case be dealt with in the magistrates court?

Emma Says:

Most road traffic offences are summary only offences, this means that they can only be dealt with in the magistrates court and the prosecution need to lay an information for the proceedings to be issued or charge you within six months of the date of the offence. However certain more serious road traffic offences are described as ‘either way’ offences.

This means they can be dealt with in the magistrates court or at the Crown Court if you elect to have a trial in front of a jury or the magistrates decide the cases too complicated/serious for them to deal with it. The sentencing powers of the court increase considerably if the case is sent to the Crown Court.

You really do need to be represented if you are facing this type of allegation. Dangerous driving is probably the most common road traffic offence that is sent to the Crown Court. You may be eligible for legal aid in relation to this type of case. You will certainly be eligible if the case is sent to the Crown Court.

However you may be required to pay a contribution to your legal aid whilst the case is ongoing. This could end up with you paying a lawyer who does not specialise in motoring law (a general criminal defence lawyer) more than you would have paid a specialist motoring offence lawyer.

If your case has been committed to the Crown Court you need expert help and if you are going to pay towards your representation than it makes sense that your money is spent on a lawyer who just deals with this area of law. Again we have defended many cases where non-motoring specialists have failed to identify even the most basic arguments.



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