Fail To Stop And Failing To Report An Accident
Hit and Run Offence
Failing To Stop Offence Codes: AC10, AC20
The penalties for failing to stop following an accident or collision (often called hit and run) are significant. You face 5 – 10 penalty points on your licence and a prison sentence of up to 6 months. Hit and run often deals with car park scrapes and damage caused, but becomes much more serious when personal injury has occurred.
The Law Says:
Where an accident has taken place and either damage or personal injury has been caused, then the vehicle driver is required to remain at the scene of the accident and to provide their name and address.
Additionally, they also need to provide the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle. This may be if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds.
It is an offence under Section 170 Road Traffic Act 1988 to fail to stop at the scene of an accident.
There is also an additional obligation that;
- even if you do stop but either your details have not been requested or
- it is not practicable for you to exchange details i.e. there is no one else at the scene
you are required to report an accident at a police station as soon as is practical and, at the very latest, within 24 hours of the incident.
Failure to report an accident is an offence under Section 170 Road Traffic Act 1988, if you have not stopped and exchanged details.
Failing to stop and failure to report carry significant penalties. This is because they were originally introduced to deal with ‘hit and run’ accidents.
However, most cases we deal with involve minor bumps and scrapes in car parks. In a high number of cases, our clients tell us they were not even aware that an accident had happened.
Because of this, while the potential penalties can be severe, in many cases the incident is dealt with by penalty points and a fine.
Fail to Stop / Failure to Report Penalties
However, failure to stop & failure to report an accident can involve a prison sentence of up to six months.
Imprisonment would normally only be imposed if you failed to stop & someone was severely injured during the accident. You could also be imprisoned if the defendant had driven away knowing that there had been a collision.
Failure to stop and failing to report both carry 5-10 penalty points. In instances where both offences occur from the same accident, then the court usually treat the offences as happening on the same occasion.
If you are prosecuted for both offences, as long as they relate to the same event or accident, you should only receive penalty points for one offence, not both.
Having said this, adding 5 – 10 points to your licence can have serious consequences. If you have been accused of failure to stop or failure to report an accident, ask us a free, no obligation question about your circumstances ….. click here
Defences for Failure to Stop and Failure to Report an Accident
Both offences are defendable allegations. You would have a defence if you: –
- Were not driving at the time of the accident;
- Weren’t driving on a public road or in a public place when the accident occurred;
- You could demonstrate that you had stopped at the time of the accident and exchanged details and if not, you had reported the incident as soon as practical;
- You had no knowledge that an accident had occurred.
The prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that injury or damage was caused.
If there was no damage or injury, no duty arises upon the driver to stop and/or report so you can’t be found guilty of failure to do so.
The most common defence used is that the driver was unaware that an accident had occurred.
If damage is shown, the burden passes to the driver to show, on the balance of probabilities, that they had no knowledge that there had been an accident.
Whether this is successful will depend on the severity of the impact involved and the amount of damage.
The higher the impact and the more damage caused, the more unlikely this defence becomes. It is increasingly difficult to demonstrate that the driver might not have known that an accident had happened.
It should be noted that;
- if you were not aware that an accident had occurred
- but you become aware of the incident within 24 hours of it taking place
you are still required to report it in the same way as you would have done had you known at the time.
If you need advice about failing to stop / failure to report an accident please click here to ASK US A FREE QUESTION and find out how we can help you.