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Guidelines in motoring offences

Author: Woodfines Solicitors
Published On: 29 June 2023

On the 15th June 2023, the Sentencing Council published 12 new and revised sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of motoring offences in England and Wales. The new and revised guidelines, which apply to adults only, will come into effect on 1 July 2023.

The revised guidelines are:

Causing death by Dangerous driving

The new maximum sentence for this offence is life imprisonment and the offence range is now 2 – 18 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 5 years with a compulsory extended re-test.

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, etc/ Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs or having failed either to provide a specimen for analysis or to permit analysis of a blood sample

The new maximum sentence for this offence is life imprisonment and the offence range is now 26 weeks – 18 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 5 years with a compulsory extended re-test or a minimum 6 years’ disqualification if the offender has been convicted of this same offence in the 10 years preceding commission of the present offence.

Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 5 years’ custody and the offence range is now a community order to 4 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 12 months or a minimum 2 years’ disqualification if the offender has been disqualified two or more times for a period of at least 56 days in the three years preceding the commission of the offence.

Causing death by driving when disqualified

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years’ custody and the offence range is now a community order to 7 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 2 years’ with compulsory extended re-test.

Causing death by driving: unlicensed or uninsured drivers

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 2 years’ custody and the offence range is now a community order to 2 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 12 months or a minimum 2 years’ disqualification if the offender has been disqualified two or more times for a period of at least 56 days in the three years preceding the commission of the offence.

Dangerous driving

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 2 years’ custody and the offence range is now a community order to 2 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 1 year with a compulsory extended re-test or a minimum 2 years’ disqualification if the offender has been disqualified two or more times for a period of at least 56 days in the three years preceding the commission of the offence.

 The new guidelines are:

Causing serious injury by dangerous driving

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 5 years’ custody and the offence range is now 26 weeks to 5 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 2 years’ with compulsory extended re-test.

Causing serious injury by driving whilst disqualified

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 4 years’ custody and the offence range is now a community order to 4 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 2 years’ with compulsory extended re-test.

Causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 2 years’ custody and the offence range is now a community order to 2 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 12 months or a minimum 2 years’ disqualification if the offender has been disqualified two or more times for a period of at least 56 days in the three years preceding the commission of the offence.

Causing injury by wanton or furious driving

The new maximum sentence for this offence is 2 years’ custody and the offence range is now a fine to 2 years’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 2 years’ with compulsory extended re-test.

Driving or attempting to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit

The new maximum sentence for this offence is an unlimited fine and/or 6 month’s custody and the offence range is now a Band B fine to 26 weeks’ custody. The obligatory disqualification is also a minimum of 12 months or a minimum 3 years’ disqualification if the offender has been convicted of any of:

  • causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs;
  • driving or attempting to drive while unfit
  • driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol,
  • driving or attempting to drive with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit
  • failing to provide a specimen) where that is an offence involving obligatory disqualification,
  • failing to allow a specimen to be subjected to laboratory test) where that is an offence involving obligatory disqualification

in the 10 years preceding commission of the current offence. Otherwise, minimum 2 years disqualification if the offender has been disqualified two or more times for a period of at least 56 days in the three years preceding the commission of the offence)

Being in charge of a motor vehicle with a specified drug above the specified limit

The new maximum sentence for this offence is a Level 4 fine and/or 3 months custody and the offence range is now a Band B fine to 12 weeks’ custody.

Sentencing Council Chairman, Lord Justice William Davis, said “Offences committed by drivers can have serious consequences for the victims, including death or life-changing injuries and this is reflected in recent legislative changes made by Parliament.  The guidelines published today will provide judges and magistrates with up-to-date guidelines that cover the full range of these offences.”

Should you require assistance or advice relating to these or any other motoring offences, please get in touch with a member of the Crime team.

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