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Driving offences involving death

The main types of driving offences involving fatalities are 'dangerous' driving and 'careless or inconsiderate' driving. The driver's behaviour is what is important, not what the driver believes. Someone may be committing a dangerous driving offence even though they believe they are driving safely.

Find out more about driving offences involving death

Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Charging decision: Harriet Harman MP


The Crown Prosecution Service has decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute the Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP for the offences of driving without due care and attention and driving whilst using a hand-held mobile telephone in relation to an incident on 3 July 2009 in Peckham, London.

The Metropolitan Police Service provided papers to the CPS on 9 November 2009 which were reviewed by the Special Crime Division in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.  An MPS employee will now attend a magistrates' court in order to obtain a summons to be served on Ms Harman.


  1. Both of these offences are summary only so can only be tried in a magistrates' court.
  2. The penalties for driving without due care and attention are:
    1. A maximum fine of £5000
    2. A licence endorsement of between three and nine points
    3. Disqualification from driving is discretionary.
  3. The penalties for driving whilst using a hand-held mobile phone are:
    1. A maximum fine of £1000
    2. A licence endorsement of three points
    3. Disqualification from driving is discretionary.
  4. Obtaining a summons at a magistrates' court is a way of bringing someone before a court without having to formally charge them. This method of bringing someone before a court is often used when an individual does not have to answer bail.
  5. Media enquiries by email: CPS Press Office or by phone: 020 7710 6088, Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  6. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  7. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  8. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol