Failing To Stop After An Accident
If you are involved in a road traffic accident, and damage or injury is caused, then you are required by law to stop and remain at the scene of the accident and to provide your details (your name, address, and also the name and address of the owner of the vehicle you were driving and the vehicle’s registration number) if reasonably requested to do so. Not to do so is to commit the offence of failing to stop.
Defences to failing to stop after an accident
Philip Hatvany, our specialist solicitor, has over 20 years experience dealing with matters of this type. Here are some defences he has successfully put forward in the past;
- The accused stopped but there was no one around to exchange details with. An example of this would be if they, in the middle of the night, crashed into a fence at the roadside, but there was no one around. In such a case, they do not have to actually go looking for the owner of the fence to give them their details as long as they wait at the scene for a reasonable time. If no one comes, they are not guilty of this offence if they drive off.
- The accused was not driving on a public road or in a public place when the accident occurred. This would be a defence because the offence cannot normally take place on private land.
- The accused didn’t stop because they felt threatened by the other driver and they feared that if they did stop they would suffer serious injury. This is called the defence of duress.
- The accused did not cause any damage or injury at all. This is a defence because damage or injury are essential ingredients of this offence.
- The accused didn’t realise that there had been an accident. An example of this would be if they were reversing out of a parking place in a supermarket carpark and they very lightly connected with another vehicle. Here they may not even have been aware that there had been an accident and they may, therefore, have driven off. However, if at the trial the prosecution show that damage was caused to the other vehicle then it is down to the defence to demonstrate, on balance of probabilities, that they were unaware that any accident had taken place.
Failing To Report After An Accident
If you fail to exchange details, and damage or injury was caused in the road traffic accident, then you must report the matter as soon as possible at a police station, or to a police constable, and at the very latest within 24 hours. To not do so means that you would be guilty of the offence of failure to report. It should be noted that telephoning the police to inform them of the accident is not enough. You have to actually go to the police station or speak in person to the police constable.
Defences To Failing To Report After An Accident
There are numerous possible defences but the most common ones include;
- Demonstrating that you did stop at the time of the accident and exchange details as required and therefore reporting the matter was not necessary.
- Showing that you had in fact reported the matter after the accident in the correct manner.
Penalties For Failing To Stop, And Failing To Report, After An Accident
The punishment for each of these offences is the same. The magistrates can impose between 5 and 10 penalty points on your driving licence. If they do not impose penalty points then they have to disqualify you from driving for as long as they see fit. In very serious cases the magistrates can impose a prison sentence for up to 6 months. There is also an unlimited fine.
Even if the magistrates decide to just impose penalty points this could have a disastrous affect if it would bring your total number of points on your driving licence up to 12 penalty points or more. If this is the case the magistrates have to disqualify you for at least 6 months unless exceptional hardship can successfully be argued. Our motoring law specialist solicitor, Philip Hatvany, has a success rate of over 90% (average over the last 10 years) for successfully arguing exceptional hardship and thereby saving people’s driving licences.
Often, as well as facing the allegations of failing to stop and failing to report, a driver will also be accused of careless driving in relation to an incident. If they are found guilty of these offences the magistrates will not sentence them for all three offences but rather just for the one that they consider to be the most serious.
Why You Should Contact Speeding Law Solicitors
Unlike many solicitors, we are specialists at dealing with matters of this type. Our leading road traffic law solicitor, Philip Hatvany, has an 82% success rate (average over the last 10 years) for successfully defending motoring allegations at trial. Even if no defence can be identified he is very skilled at saving people’s driving licences. He regularly covers a variety of Magistrates' Courts, these include Portsmouth, Bath, Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham, Reading, Southampton, Cardiff and Bristol Magistrates' Courts. Often he also attends Magistrates Courts in London. Even if your court hearing is further afield we can use one of our select pool of experienced barristers to cover the hearing under Mr Hatvany’s close supervision. Mr Hatvany will still meticulously carry out all the preparation in relation to your case. For a FREE telephone consultation, contact Philip Hatvany now on FREEPHONE 0800 909 8110.