Failure to Remain

Failure to Remain
Failure to Remain Failure to Remain 163

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 :

  • To stop the conveyance;
  • Give their name and address; and,
  • Offer assistance to any party that is injured or appears to require assistance

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:

  • Remain at or immediately return to the scene;
  • Render all possible assistance; and
  • Upon request, provide in writing to any police officer, witness or party that has suffered a loss or injury:
    • His or her name
    • Driver’s licence number and issuing Province or Territory
    • The vehicle’s insurance policy number and insurer
    • The name and address of the vehicle’s registered owner and the vehicle’s permit number

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.

FAQ

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:

  • The accident resulted in death or bodily harm;
  • The driver was engaging in street racing;
  • There was a passenger in the conveyance that under sixteen years old;
  • The driver was being paid;
  • The driver’s blood alcohol was over 120 mg/mL of blood;
  • The driver was operating a large motor vehicle; or
  • The driver was not permitted to drive
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