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Fail to Stop

Section 252 of the Criminal Code of Canada covers the Fail to Stop at the Scene of an Accident charge.

Below are some of the “Fail to Stop Charges”- feel free to click on any of them to learn more.

If you have any other questions or wish a free consultation call or email. Daley, Byers – Criminal Defence Lawyers.


 

 

FAQ: FAILING TO STOP AT THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT – S. 252 CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA

Does there have to be damage or injury to constitute an “accident”?

There does not have to damage or injury. The crucial component of the charge is the intent to avoid civil or criminal responsibility. For example if a person’s vehicle just tapped the bumper of the car ahead and that individual failed to stop because he had consumed alcohol, then he would have left the scene to avoid criminal responsibility.

Is it a criminal offence to Fail to Stop at the Scene of an accident involving a single motor vehicle?

There does not have to damage or injury. The crucial component of the charge is the intent to avoid civil or criminal responsibility. For example if a person’s vehicle just tapped the bumper of the car ahead and that individual failed to stop because he had consumed alcohol, then he would have left the scene to avoid criminal responsibility.

What is my responsibility if I have an accident with an unoccupied vehicle?
The obligation is to stop and attempt to locate the owner and provide personal information. Failure to do so may result in a conviction.
What if I leave the scene briefly and then return?
It will depend why you left the scene. Many of our clients have faced this dilemma having left the scene to seek assistance and returned a short time later. This conduct is acceptable. If however, you have failed to stop at the scene of the accident to avoid civil or criminal responsibility then you will face a possible conviction even though you returned to the scene a short while later.
What if I did not know I was in an accident?
It is an absolute requirement for a conviction that you must have known there was an accident. In fact, it is not sufficient for the Crown to state that in the circumstances you should have known that there was an accident. Actual knowledge is required.
What can happen to me if I am convicted?
This question was partially answered above under Penalties for Fail to Stop at the Scene of an Accident. However, each case will depend on the facts supporting the charge and the history of the individual facing the charge. For example a good driving record would be considered as a positive factor on sentencing.
How much is my defence going to cost?

This depends upon a number of factors including:

  1. The complexity of the matter
  2. Will the case go to trial?
  3. Can a plea to a reduced charge be negotiated thus reducing the time that is spent on your case?
  4. Are expert witnesses involved and/or required?
  5. The number of witnesses

After our initial free consultation we will provide you with a range of legal fees based on the different possible process that your case may follow. We do require a partial retainer which is held in trust and applied to your total legal fee. We also accept payment plans. We understand that nobody budgets for unexpected legal costs and we try to accommodate as best we can. What we do promise our clients is value; an excellent legal defence and open channels of communication with their lawyer. It is our job to get you the best result possible. It is our job to win.

How does the prosecutor prove I failed to stop at the scene of an accident?

To obtain a conviction for failing to stop at the scene of an accident, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

1. 1) the accused had the care, charge or control of a vehicle;

2. 2) that the vehicle was involved in an accident;

3. 3) the accident was with either (i) another person or (ii) a vehicle;

4. 4) the accused, with the intent to escape civil or criminal liability failed to:

1.    a) stop the vehicle;

2.    b) give his or her name and address; and

3.    c) where any person has been injured or appears to require assistance, offer

assistance.

Is it a criminal offence to fail to remain at the scene of a single motor vehicle accident?

There is no requirement imposed by the Criminal Code of Canada to remain at the scene of an accident

involving only a single motor vehicle as long as there are no injuries to any passengers of that vehicle.

The Criminal Code only imposes obligations on a driver to remain at the scene of an accident if another

person or vehicle was involved in that accident.

What information is required before discharging one’s duties to remain at the scene of an accident?

A person involved in an accident involving a another person or vehicle must communicate his name and

address in some meaningful and effective way to bring home to the other party that information, so that

he or she may follow it up with the police or by pressing a civil claim, knowing that he or she has the right

person. Once this is done, the person has discharged their duties at the scene. There are a number of

other requirements under the Highway Traffic Act.

Can the duty to remain at the scene of an accident be delegated to another person?

Section 252 of the Criminal Code of Canada imposes a personal obligation on the person involved in the

accident to remain at the scene for the purpose of providing assistance and their personal information as

required by law.  This duty cannot be delegated to others such as the passenger of the vehicle involved in

the accident.

What if a person leaves the scene briefly before returning?

The Court will look at the reason why a person left the scene of an accident to determine whether they

intended to intended to evade civil or criminal responsibility. If the Court concludes that the person left to

obtain assistance and not evade responsibility, they will be found not guilty of the offence.

Must there be damage or injury before a person is required to stop a vehicle and render assistance?

The term "accident" within section 252(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada does not require any real

physical damage before a person is obligated to stop and offer assistance. Rather, an accident will be

deemed to have occurred when any form of contact is initiated between two vehicles and not only where

damage or injury occurs.

Accident with an unoccupied vehicle – must the driver stop?

Even in cases where there is no occupant in the other vehicle (such as a parked car), there is still an

obligation for the driver to stop and make efforts to locate the driver or leave their personal information. A

failure to stop and make such efforts could result in a conviction.

What if the driver did not know an accident has occurred – is he still guilty if he didn’t stop?

A driver only has an obligation to stop once he is aware an accident has occurred. It is a valid defence to

the charge of failing to stop at the scene of accident to say that the driver was unaware he has struck

another person or vehicle.

What are the penalties for failing to stop at the scene of an accident?

The penalties for failing to stop at the scene of an accident can rage from no time in jail to a maximum of

10 years in jail if a person is injured or killed. The maximum punishment for all other cases is five years in

jail.

During the sentencing phase, the judge may also consider suspending an accused person’s driver’s

license for a period of time in addition to jail or a monetary fine. In all cases, a judge will assess the

specific facts of the allegation that is before them and the history of the person being sentenced.

Can I appeal a conviction or sentence for failing to stop:

It is always possible to appeal a conviction or sentence for any charge including  failing to stop. To read

more about the criminal appeal process read: Appealing a criminal conviction or sentence. In some

instances, it is also possible to suspend the driving prohibition in order to get back a drivers license

pending the outcome of one's appeal.

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