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As more and more vehicles hit Scotland’s roads, the enforcement of driving violations intensifies. But when does distraction or error behind the wheel lead to criminal charges? This article looks at building defences against allegations of causing death by dangerous driving.

In a 2017 case, lorry driver, Tomasz Kroker, was distracted by selecting music on his phone and crashed into stationary traffic. The devastating collision killed four people. Had he only committed the offence of using a mobile device while driving, Kroker likely faced six penalty points and a £200 fine. But due to his actions leading to the multiple deaths, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for dangerous driving.

This tragedy highlights how outcomes can dramatically impact legal repercussions and sentencing severity.

Understanding Death by Dangerous Driving

In Scotland, Dangerous driving means operating a vehicle below the standard expected of a competent, careful driver with clear disregard for other road users’ safety. It is driving without proper care and attention to fellow road users. This can result in up to 14 years in prison if it leads to death or serious injury, regardless of intention.

Even just driving dangerously or carelessly on public roads risks up to 2 years in prison. Add loss of life from this behaviour, and consequences intensify – with lengthy sentences and a loss of licence as common outcomes.

Immediate Actions After an Incident: What to Do and Not to Do

  1. Ensure safety and contact emergency assistance. Caring for the injured takes utmost priority. Also, secure the scene if possible.
  2. Avoid admissions and hold off on making statements until after consulting your lawyer. Protect your rights by refraining from making assertions to the police or involved parties until you get legal guidance.
  3. Promptly contact an experienced road traffic defence lawyer. Their expertise with dangerous driving death cases can prove invaluable in developing a robust legal strategy.
  4. If feasible, methodically gather visual evidence, witness accounts, and other pertinent information. But carefully avoid physically touching materials to maintain the integrity of forensic evidence.
  5. Notify your insurer about the incident as soon as realistically possible. They will provide direction on the necessary next steps in the evolving claim process.

A Few Possible Defence Strategies:

Remember, even if you are guilty, you have more options than you think.

  1. Challenging the prosecution’s case: A skilled defence lawyer will meticulously review the prosecution’s evidence, looking for inconsistencies, errors, or weaknesses that can be challenged in court. This may include questioning the reliability of witnesses or disputing the accuracy of forensic evidence.
  2. Questioning causation: In Death by Dangerous Driving cases, establishing causation is crucial. A knowledgeable lawyer will explore the circumstances surrounding the incident and any contributing factors that may have influenced the outcome.
  3. Exploring lesser offences: Depending on the specific details of the case, it may be possible to argue for a reduction to the charge. This could involve seeking a lesser offence, such as Death by Careless Driving. These carry less severe penalties.
  4. Negotiating a plea bargain: In certain cases, it may be beneficial to negotiate a plea bargain early with the prosecution. This can lead to receiving a discount on the sentence. This involves pleading guilty to fewer offences or a lesser offence in exchange for a reduced sentence. An experienced lawyer will assess the feasibility and potential benefits of pursuing this avenue.
  5. Highlighting mitigating factors: A skilled lawyer will identify and emphasise any extenuating circumstances that may reduce the severity of the sentence. This might involve showing remorse, presenting an unblemished driving record, or highlighting victim compensation and future incident prevention efforts.

These are just a few strategies to ensure the best possible outcome following such an unfortunate incident.

When faced with charges of death by dangerous driving, the consequences can be severe, impacting both your liberty and livelihood. It is imperative to seek professional legal assistance to protect your rights and mount a robust defence.

Contact Our Road Traffic Defence Team

At Scullion LAW, our experienced Road Traffic Lawyers are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome. Don’t face these charges alone!

Contact us today to secure the expert representation you deserve.

Call our expert Road Traffic Defence Team in Glasgow at 0141 374 2121 or Hamilton at 01698 283 265. Alternatively, you can fill out our enquiry form, and we will promptly return your call.

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