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Failing to Stop & Report an Accident

Failing to Stop & Report an Accident


This is one of the offences that may arise as a result of a motorist being unaware of their legal obligations in certain situations. Hopefully this page provides clarity in respect of what you are expected and required to do if you are involved in an accident.


In a nutshell, if you are the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident and any of the following occurs:


  • Injury to anyone (whether in the vehicle or not)
  • Damage to another vehicle
  • Damage to property


The law requires that you stop and exchange details with anyone who has reasonable grounds to ask for them. The details you must exchange are:


  • Your name & address
  • The vehicle owner’s name & address (if different from above)
  • The vehicle’s registration


In circumstances where it is not possible for you to stop and exchange details then you must report the accident in person to a police officer. This must be done as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 24 hours.


In cases where an injury has occurred there is an additional obligation for you to provide your certificate of insurance at the scene. If this is not possible then you must produce at a police station within 24 hours.


In summary, regardless of how minor the damage or injury you must comply with the above to avoid committing an offence.


In respect of animals, this legislation only applies to cattle, mules, sheep, pigs, goats, dogs, asses and horses.


Police Investigation


During an investigation into whether this offence has been committed you may be invited to an interview at the police station. It is important you ask for a solicitor to attend the station with you and you are entitled to free and independent legal advice for such an interview under the legal aid scheme. We at Duncan Lewis can represent you at this stage so we would urge you to contact us.


This interview is voluntary so you do not have to go. That being said, if you do not cooperate with a voluntary interview you may be arrested so the police can facilitate an interview.


Following the investigation, the police will consider two things:


  • Is there sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution
  • Is a prosecution in the public interest?


If the answer to both of these questions is “Yes” then you will be charged and a prosecution brought against you.


Penalty for Failing to Stop & Report an Accident


The court has a degree of discretion when it comes to sentencing and it all depends upon the seriousness of the allegation and the individual circumstances.


The sentencing guidelines start at 5 penalty points but can go as high as 6 months in prison so there is quite a wide range of options available to the court.


There is also a potentially unlimited fine that the court can impose.


When considering penalty, there are a number of factors that the court will consider to determine the seriousness of the offence. These will include (but are not limited to) the following:


  • Offence committed whilst also suspected of driving with excess alcohol or drugs
  • Committed by an offender seeking to avoid arrest for a different offence
  • Offender knew injury/damage had been caused but left anyway
  • Evidence of bad driving
  • Little of no attempt to comply with obligations


Is There Anything I can Do?


Allegations of this nature are fact-based and whether or not you can defend an allegation will largely be dependent upon the facts of the case as opposed to technical issues. We would urge you to contact us if you wish to discuss any possible defence as we will need to have a fuller picture of exactly what has happened in order to advice you accordingly.


Why Instruct Duncan Lewis Solicitors?


Road Traffic Law is a very niche area of criminal law and there are very firms with genuine expertise in this area. As specialists, there are a number of strategies and techniques that have been developed and fine-tuned over the years that result in successful acquittals.


When we are instructed in a case, there are a number of aspects of your case that we scrutinise which include but are not limited to:


  • All evidence available which would include witness statements from the parties involved.
  • Is the evidence itself strong enough? To secure a conviction in the UK the court must be satisfied that you are guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. To a non-specialist lawyer the evidence against you may seem substantial however when we review the strength of the case we almost invariably find flaws and have evidence thrown out. The result? The case against you simply isn’t strong enough to convince the court that you are guilty.
  • Whether all evidence has been disclosed is another area that results in acquittals. It is vital that you receive a fair trial and there are many cases where this is simply not possible due to certain evidence not being disclosed to us. At trial, we have successfully argued that this means you cannot enjoy a fair trial and the case has been dismissed.
  • Whether special reasons apply


How Much Does it Cost


The costs of representation will largely depend upon whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty however for both instances we can offer representation at a fixed fee.


If you plead guilty the matter will likely be dealt with in one hearing for which we charge £1500 + VAT . If you decide to defend your case then it will likely take several months to reach trial and there are various factors that affect costs such as:


  • How complex the case is; and
  • The number of hearings involved/duration of the proceedings


The majority of trials for this offence can be prepared on a fixed fee basis of £3000 + VAT


Call Duncan Lewis motoring offence specialists on 020 7923 4020 for expert legal advice on all motoring law offences, including failure to stop and report an accident matters.

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