skip to main content

Updated Sentencing Guidelines for
Driving Offences

Following a thorough consultation process, the independent Sentencing Council released a set of 12 updated sentencing guidelines for adults convicted of motoring offences in England and Wales, which came into effect on 1st July.

Notably, six guidelines originally introduced in 2008 have been revised to align with new maximum sentences introduced for certain offences by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC Act). Among these offences are causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for which the Act raised the maximum sentences from 14 years to life.

In cases such as causing death by careless driving, where the least serious level of careless driving previously had a non-custodial starting point, this has now been substituted with a starting point involving some time in prison. However, careless driving may involve misjudgement or error, which prompts consideration of whether, in situations where the outcomes are undoubtedly serious, but there are no aggravating factors and culpability is minimal, a custodial sentence should be imposed.

The offences affected by the revised guidelines are:

  • Causing death by dangerous driving;
  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs;
  • Causing death by careless driving;
  • Causing death by driving whilst disqualified;
  • Causing death by driving whilst unlicensed or uninsured;
  • Dangerous driving.

The Council has also formulated three guidelines for 'causing injury by driving' offences. These offences were established following the existing Sentencing Guidelines Council motoring guidelines. The specific offences encompass causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by driving while disqualified, and the newly introduced offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

Additionally, the new guidelines cover causing injury by wanton or furious driving, applicable in cases where a cyclist causes death or injury, or when someone drives or attempts to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit.

  • Causing serious injury by dangerous driving;
  • Causing serious injury by driving whilst disqualified;
  • Causing serious injury by careless driving;
  • Causing injury by wanton or furious driving;
  • Driving or attempting to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit;
  • Being in charge of a motor vehicle with a specified drug above the specified limit.

How the judiciary will interpret and apply the new and amended guidelines remains unclear, but the rise in statutory maximum penalties is expected to lead to a surge in the inmate population within an already strained system. The hope is that the guidelines will introduce greater clarity around some areas and more consistency in sentencing for driving-related offences.

Speak to a member of our team today!

Noble Solicitors excel in providing expert assistance to clients in presenting strong arguments to mitigate speeding offences. Leveraging our extensive knowledge of traffic laws and regulations, we have a skilled team of solicitors who work closely with clients to gather relevant evidence, assess the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence, and develop persuasive strategies for reducing the severity of penalties. Whether it involves challenging the accuracy of speed measurement devices, questioning the reliability of witness statements, or highlighting mitigating factors, Noble Solicitors maintains a focus on meticulous preparation and effective presentation to ensure that clients receive comprehensive support throughout the entire legal process.

Read next article

Noble Solicitors – Fighting For You
Always Protecting Your Rights.
07000 81 82 83