Failing to remain at the scene of an accident is an offence under the Criminal Code as well as Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
Under s. 320.16 of the Criminal Code, 320.16 (1) everyone commits an offence who operates a conveyance and who, at the time of operating the conveyance knows that, or is reckless as to whether, the conveyance has been involved in an accident with a person or another conveyance and who fails, without reasonable excuse to :
Under s. 200(1) of HTA, where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident must:
The provisions governing both offences are unique—unlike most Criminal Code or HTA provisions, which make it an offence for individuals to act in the specified manner, the provisions governing failing to remain make it an offence for individuals not to act in the specified manner. In other words, individuals who have been in an accident have a positive duty to provide certain information and render assistance to any parties requiring it. It is an offence for individuals not to discharge their duties.
Failing to remain at the scene of an accident can result in fines, jail time, driving prohibitions, suspensions, demerit points, and increased insurance costs. If you have been in an accident with another person or vehicle, it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately to ensure that you comply with your statutory obligations while protecting your legal interests.
According to s. 320.11 of the Criminal Code, a conveyance is a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment.
A reasonable excuse is a valid reason that you couldn’t stop as required by the law. It is a defence to a charge of failing to stop after an accident. A common example of a reasonable excuse is a medical emergency.
Yes. Even if you did not know that you hit another person, you can still be convicted of failing to remain if you were reckless as to whether or not you hit another person.
Failing to stop after an accident can be a serious charge. The offence is more serious where:
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