Updated: May 11
First of all, Careless Driving is considered the midrange serious offence among the 3 different categories of driving offences.
It's located between both Driving Without Reasonable Consideration and Dangerous Driving.
Driving Without Reasonable Consideration carries a fine. Dangerous driving carries a fine and an automatic disqualification from driving.
What is considered Careless Driving? It’s not clearly defined but is generally regarded as a type of driving that may cause injury but not serious injury.
It can also relate to damage to property caused by driving, provided –generally- that the damage caused is not significant.
What constitutes careless driving is generally a matter of severity: the more serious the consequences or result of the driving the more likely it is that the driving will be elevated to the status of dangerous driving.
Both careless driving and dangerous driving offences carry potential disqualification penalties. The difference between them is that while dangerous driving carries a mandatory disqualification from driving if convicted, careless driving does not.
The penalty for careless driving is a fine and potential disqualification. What this means is that if you are convicted of careless driving the Judge will ask your solicitor to address them.
Address them about what? Address them as to why the Judge should not disqualify you from driving.
What the Judge is looking for here is information about you: specifically, whether you are working or not, whether you have family obligations where having your driver's licence is very important to you.
The Judge will ask the Gardai whether you have any previous convictions. If you do this will affect whether the Judge decides to disqualify you or not.
If your previous convictions are not related to driving matters, then they will likely –depending on the nature of the convictions- be regarded as having little relevance.
If the previous convictions are for driving offences the chances of disqualification rise.
If the convictions are for dangerous or careless driving, then the risk of disqualification rise still further.
As with all offences the Judge must decide what is fair. Society needs to be protected against people who would drive in a poor manner.
But this must be balanced against an iron rule of life: that each of us make mistakes and that when we do, we would not like to face life-altering consequences as a result.
Getting that message across to the Judge can often make the difference between keeping your driver's licence or losing it.