Careless Driving (drive without due care and attention) (Revised 2017)
Triable only summarily
Maximum: Unlimited fine
Offence range: Band A fine – Band C fine
In accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, the Sentencing Council issues this definitive guideline. It applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after the effective date of this guideline, regardless of the date of the offence (subject to requirement(s) being applicable).
Section 125(1) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides that when sentencing offences committed
after 6 April 2010:
“Every court –
- must, in sentencing an offender, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the offender’s case, and
- must, in exercising any other function relating to the sentencing of offenders, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the exercise of the function,
unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.”
This guideline applies only to offenders aged 18 and older. General principles to be considered in the sentencing of children and young people are in the Sentencing Guidelines Council’s definitive guideline, Overarching Principles – Sentencing Children and Young People.
Step 1 – Determining the offence category
The Court should determine the offence category using the table below.
- Higher culpability and greater harm
- Higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm
- Lower culpability and lesser harm
The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.
Culpability demonstrated by one or more of the following
Factors indicating higher culpability
- Excessive speed or aggressive driving
- Carrying out other tasks while driving
- Vehicle used for the carriage of heavy goods or for the carriage of passengers for reward
- Tiredness or driving whilst unwell
- Driving contrary to medical advice (including written advice from the drug manufacturer not to drive when taking any medicine)
Factors indicating lower culpability
- All other cases
Factors indicating greater harm
- Injury to others
- Damage to other vehicles or property
- High level of traffic or pedestrians in vicinity
Factors indicating lesser harm
- All other cases
Step 2 – Starting point and category range
Having determined the category at step one, the court should use the appropriate starting point to reach a sentence within the category range in the table below. The starting point applies to all offenders irrespective of plea or previous convictions.
| Level of seriousness
|Category 1||Band C fine||Band C fine||Consider disqualification
OR 7 – 9 points
||Band B fine||Band B fine||5 – 6 points|
|Category 3||Band A fine||Band A fine||3 – 4 points|
- Must endorse and may disqualify. If no disqualification impose 3 – 9 points
|Fine Band A||50% of relevant weekly income||25 – 75% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band B||100% of relevant weekly income||75 – 125% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band C||150% of relevant weekly income||125 – 175% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band D||250% of relevant weekly income||200 – 300% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band E||400% of relevant weekly income||300 – 500% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band F||600% of relevant weekly income||500 – 700% of relevant weekly income|
The court should then consider further adjustment for any aggravating or mitigating factors. The following is a non-exhaustive list of additional factual elements providing the context of the offence and factors relating to the offender. Identify whether any combination of these, or other relevant factors, should result in an upward or downward adjustment from the sentence arrived at so far.
Factors increasing seriousness
Statutory aggravating factors
- Previous convictions, having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
- Offence committed whilst on bail
Other aggravating factors
- Failure to comply with current court orders
- Offence committed on licence or post sentence supervision
- Contravening a red signal at a level crossing
Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation
- No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
- Good character and/or exemplary conduct
Step 3 – Consider any factors which indicate a reduction, such as assistance to the prosecution
The court should take into account sections 73 and 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (assistance by defendants: reduction or review of sentence) and any other rule of law by virtue of which an offender may receive a discounted sentence in consequence of assistance given (or offered) to the prosecutor or investigator.
Step 4 – Reduction for guilty pleas
The court should take account of any potential reduction for a guilty plea in accordance with section 144 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the guideline for Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea (where first hearing is on or after 1 June 2017, or first hearing before 1 June 2017).
Step 5 – Totality principle
If sentencing an offender for more than one offence, or where the offender is already serving a sentence, consider whether the total sentence is just and proportionate to the overall offending behaviour in accordance with the Totality guideline.
Step 6 – Compensation and ancillary orders
Step 7 – Reasons
Section 174 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty to give reasons for, and explain the effect of, the sentence.