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What Can Happen to a Driver Who Fails to Remain at the Scene of an Accident?

One of the most serious Highway Traffic offences is “Failure to Remain at a Scene.” This traffic offence is where someone, who was involved in the accident leaves the scene and does not return. Sometimes people panic because they get into an accident and were driving without a license, on a license suspension, or without insurance.

While all of these reasons could result in traffic tickets and further complications for the driver, the last thing you want to do is leave the accident scene. Leaving the scene does not make the accident go away. Eventually, the police will catch up with you and charge you with the offence. In addition, if there were serious injuries and/or death, the police could charge you with the criminal offence of “Fail to Stop at the Scene of an Accident.”

Even in cases where you were driving without a license, on a license suspension, or without insurance, it is better to remain at the scene of the accident rather than flee. If do choose to leave the scene of the accident, you could be facing multiple offences, each with their own penalties. For instance, the penalties for being found guilty of the Highway Traffic Offence “Failure to Remain at a Scene” include:

  • Seven demerit points on your license.
  • A minimum fine of $400, with a maximum fine of $2,000.
  • Possible imprisonment for a period of up to six months.
  • Potential driver license suspension for up to two years.
  • Increased insurance premiums.

Further, if convicted, there is a chance you will be both fined and sentenced to a period of imprisonment. The conviction remains on your driver’s record for three years.

Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Accident Requirements

The HTA requires drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident to perform for specific duties under the law, as follows:

  • Provide in writing your contact and insurance information, as well as your driver’s license number and the contact information for the registered owner of the vehicle, to anyone who experienced a loss as a result of the accident, or to the police.
  • Report the accident to the police immediately if there are personal injuries and/or more than $1,000 in property damages.
  • Remain at the scene of the accident until instructed by police you can leave.
  • Provide assistance to anyone in need, within reason.

Keep in mind, the police should be contacted whenever any accident occurs, regardless of whether there are any personal injuries or the actual value of the property damage.

What to Do After the Police Arrive

The goal of the police is to investigate the cause of the accident and assign fault. They will collect statements from those involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses. They want the guilty party to provide a statement to increment themselves. Typically, the police will attempt to get the guilty person to volunteer the details of the accident. The police normally will alert those giving statements that anything they say can later be used against them in a court of law.

If the statement made proves the person was at fault for the accident, they will be charged. Further, if they left the scene of the accident and later, after the police find them, admit fleeing the scene, they are also charged with “Failure to Remain at a Scene.”

You do not have to make a statement to the police. You do have the right to remain silent and inform the police you want to consult with a traffic defence lawyer before providing a statement. Oftentimes, if you know you are at fault for the accident and left the scene, it is highly recommended to remain silent and not provide a statement until obtaining professional legal advice.

If you have been charged with “Failure to Remain at a Scene,” or other HTA offences, contact X-Crown Legal Services today at 416-995-0862 for a free consultation.

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