Dangerous and careless drink drives and drug drivers who kill now face life sentences

Rachael Stibbe

Senior Associate

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October 17, 2022

Categories Personal Injury Claims

The Government finally tightened the law at the end of June 2022 to increase penalties for dangerous and careless drink drivers and drug drivers who kill.

Previously, these offences attracted a maximum of 14 years imprisonment. Now, such drivers face life sentences and Judges will state in each case what the minimum imprisonment shall be.

First proposed in 2017, the threat of longer imprisonments for such serious driving offences should hopefully improve driver standards.

For injured victims of negligent drivers, it can be helpful if the Defendant is convicted of a relevant related driving offence. But the absence of a road traffic offence doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in your personal injury claim. What matters is was the other driver wholly or partly to blame, not was their driving so bad that they have also committed an offence.

A charge for dangerous driving is a criminal case, brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the State (referred to in the case as R which simply stands for Rex being the King). A criminal case is a very serious matter – and the Defendant’s liberty is at stake– therefore the burden of proof on the CPS is higher –they must prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the Defendant is guilty in order to succeed. In reality, this probably means somewhere in the range of 90% or even more certainty.

A personal injury claim for damages for your injuries is a civil not a criminal claim. The Defendant’s liberty is not at stake – if you succeed then the Defendant will be ordered to pay you damages, and usually these come from their insurers. The burden of proof is that you only have to show the Defendant is negligent and at fault ‘on the balance of probabilities’ i.e. more likely than not, so it’s 51% likely that the Defendant is to blame.

So even if the Defendant is not charged with, or found not guilty of a road traffic offence, that does not mean that you cannot succeed in a civil claim for personal injury against them.

Please contact us to discuss your case further so that we can offer you our expert specialist advice on your prospects of succeeding in your personal injury claim. If we can offer you a No Win No Fee Agreement, we will be able to handle your claim for you, taking the worry away.

Speak to Personal Injury specialist, Rachael Stibbe, on 01227 763939 for advice on making a personal injury claim. 


See Police website for further information on driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs https://www.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rs/road-safety/alcohol-drug-driving/