Have you been Charged with Failing to Remain the Scene of an Accident?
Hit and run is the criminal act of striking a pedestrian, motorist, cyclist, other vehicle, or structure then fleeing the scene of the accident. In an accident, a driver has the legal and ethical duty of stopping to provide the other parties with their licence information. You also have the responsibility in assisting anyone who was injured during the incident with a minimum of contacting an ambulance. It is also required that the police be contacted in a situation where any party was injured. Failure to do this may result in criminal charges if found guilty.
Whether the incident involved a fender bender or head-on collision, you are required to remain at the scene until you have exchanged details with the other party. If no one was injured, the incident can be reported to a Ministry of Transportation Accident Reporting Centre within 10 days. Failure to do so may find you to automatically be found guilty of the incident and charged likewise.
Where only property damage exists during the accident and no one is present, it is also your duty to leave a note at the scene as to how you may be reached. Otherwise, you may again find yourself in hot water with a fleeing charge, fines, and escalated insurance rates. Remember that there are cameras all over cities and on cell phones, so it is never a good idea to just leave the scene.
Hit and Run Penalties in Canada
Section 252 of the Criminal Code of Canada creates the offence of failure to stop at the scene of an accident, and requires proof that the accused was involved in an accident with another person, vehicle, vessel or aircraft,and that the accused failed to stop his or her motor vehicle to provide his or her name and address and to provide assistance where there is an injury. There is an automatic license suspension under the Highway Traffic Act that results from being found guilty of this offence, as well as a criminal record and increased insurance rates (of 50% or more) for at least three years. There is usually also a driving prohibition under the Criminal Code that is imposed by the judge that runs concurrently with the suspension under the Highway Traffic Act.
If alcohol is later found to have been a factor in the incident, and the accused fled the scene to avoid detection for an offence such as impaired driving causing bodily harm, or impaired driving causing death, the sentence would be more severe than if the accused fled the scene simply because he or she panicked. Of course, the manner of driving that lead to the accident is always a factor on sentence, and if the accused’s impairment contributed to he cause of the accident, this would be an aggravating factor that would increase the punishment.
In a hit and run, it is not uncommon for the accused persons convicted of fail to remain at the scene of an accident to go to jail for more than two years if there was a fatality. If alcohol was a factor, the sentence would be substantially higher. Having said that, the background of the accused, and whether he or she has a prior criminal record, is also a factor on sentence. Experienced criminal defence lawyers will ensure that the client’s background is fully explored through psychological assessments,
If you have recently been charged with a hit and run offence, you will need an experienced criminal lawyer right away. Hit & run is a far more serious charge than a normal traffic violation and will be aggressively prosecuted in court. It is inadvisable to attempt to defend yourself in court in this situation.
An incident of hit and run does not need to ruin your life. If you’ve been recently charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you should get in contact with an experienced criminal defence lawyer in your area.
Contact The Criminal Law Team Toronto for a free consultation.
As dedicated, honest and caring criminal lawyers, we bring you over 60 years of experience and an excellent record of success to help defend your criminal charge.