Dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment and so is frequently dealt with in the Crown Court rather than the Magistrates' Court.
Dangerous driving is defined as driving that falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, when it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
The danger can result from the your actions or failure to take action, or the condition of your vehicle (for example, mechanical defects) or your condition (for example, if you persist in driving despite being aware that your ability is impaired for some reason).
The danger can include injury to any person, or danger of serious damage to property.
The courts have frequently said that the maximum penalty for dangerous driving is very low, considering the serious danger to people and property that can be involved. But even in the Crown Court, custody is by no means inevitable. In recent years, fewer than half of those sentenced for dangerous driving at the Crown Court went straight to gaol.
What cannot be avoided is disqualification: a ban of at least twelve months is mandatory for dangerous driving offences and an extended re-test will be required before your licence is returned.
As a result of its serious nature, dangerous driving is an offence for which Legal Aid is usually available - if you meets the "means test" applied by the authorities. If your income is above the minimum threshold, you will be required to make a monthly contribution to the legal aid fund so long as your case is ongoing and you may find that the contributions required, are more expensive than private representation. That decision will always be yours.