Failing To Stop And Report An Accident: Will You Go To Prison If Caught?

Copyright (c) 2012 Robert Gray

Failing to stop and report an accident is a very serious motoring offence especially if you have injured another person, or caused significant damage to another vehicle or to somebody else's property, as a result of your actions. If you are involved in an accident you are required by law to stop and provide your details to the other party (i.e. your name, address, car registration number and insurance details) and/or to report the matter to the police as soon as possible.

Even in fairly 'minor' instances, such as if you have bumped into a lamppost, a fence or a street bollard, you are still required to provide your details or inform the police, even if only very minor damage has been caused.

In road traffic accidents, the very least you are required to do, by law, is to stop and provide (or exchange) your details with the other driver (or drivers). However, if one or more person has been injured as a result of the collision you must call the police to the scene of the accident.

The most serious case of failing to stop and report an accident would be the case of a 'hit and run' accident. This means you have either struck a pedestrian, a cyclist or another vehicle and have simply driven off without stopping to, at the very least, provide your details. If faced with an allegation of this type you cannot expect to get off lightly at court.

So, if you are facing an allegation of failing to stop and report an accident, what punishment can you expect to be handed down from the court? If your defence fails (see below) the court has the jurisdiction to impose a fine, a community order, a prison sentence, a 12-36 month driving ban and/or 5-10 penalty points on your licence.

It is extremely difficult to successfully defend an allegation of failing to stop and report an accident, however, if you can persuade the court that you genuinely did not know that you had been involved in an accident (for example, you may have unknowingly hit somebody else's car in a busy supermarket car park whilst trying to reverse out of a parking space) then your may be successful in defending the allegation against you. However, it is not a valid defence to claim that you did know that you had, for example, hit the vehicle in the car park but you thought that you had only left a small scratch on the other vehicle. Any damage, however minor, requires you to stop and report the accident.

If you are facing an allegation of failing to stop and report an accident and are worried about going to prison or facing some other punishment from the court, you should contact a specialist motor offence lawyer as soon as possible. The specialist lawyer will be able to advise you of your chances of pleading a successful defence and will represent you in court on the day of the hearing.

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