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Failure to Report

This offence is linked to the offence of Failure to stop. It is committed where there has been an accident and the driver fails to stop and when reasonably required to do so, has not given their details and then fails to report the accident as soon as practicable or in any case within 24 hours.

This means that if a driver has in fact stopped and provided the details after an accident, there is no obligation to report the accident. The accident must be reported to the Police and must be made by the driver himself who was involved in the accident.

Defence of ‘No knowledge or unaware of an accident’

However, you are only legally obliged to report the accident if you are aware of the accident in the first place. If you are not aware of an accident taking place, how can you report something that you are unaware of?

If there is evidence to show injury or damage as a consequence of the accident, it is then for the motorist to show that he had no knowledge and it was reasonable in the circumstances for him not to have been aware.

What this means is that if you are unaware or had no knowledge of an accident taking place, then you may have a defence.


The maximum penalty for failing to stop or for failing to report is a fine of up to £5,000 and / or up to six months imprisonment. Imprisonment is extremely rare for motoring offences and is only imposed in the most serious of cases.

In addition to this, the driving licence must be endorsed with between 5-10 penalty points. Disqualification is at the discretion of the court and will depend on the circumstances that resulted in the offence. If there are any serious aggravating factors then a Court is more likely to impose an immediate disqualification from driving.

Police interview stage for failure to stop and / or failure to report

You are entitled to legal representation and advice at the interview for the police stage and expert representation can be crucial to the prospects of successfully defending the allegations. We have been instructed to represent clients at the police station stage and often the police do not prosecute after the interview has taken place.

Do not make the mistake of going into a Police interview without representation. The Police will often say the purpose is simply to take a statement or ‘we need to ask you a few questions’ but what they often mean is that you will be under caution, and you will be interviewed. What you say, or do not say, can potentially be used to prosecute you. Mistakes made at the Police Station or pre-summons stage can cause problems later. Do not take that risk and call one of our Specialist Motoring Law Team for a free consultation on 0800 6441544.

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If you are being prosecuted for failure to stop and/or failure to report, we would recommend securing the services of a specialist motoring lawyer. Even if the evidence against you appears to be strong, a conviction for the above offences does not have to result in the loss of your driving licence if your case is prepared before Court, and presented in the correct way.

Our lawyers have acted for thousands of clients over the years and it is often the case that we can persuade the Prosecution to withdraw one or both charges (This is possible where an individual is being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention or careless driving, Failure to stop and Failure to report). Contact us on 0800 6441544 for a free consultation. Alternatively, complete the Contact us form and we will call you at a time convenient for you.

Click to view our Testimonials section to read what our clients have to say about us

Case Study

Our client was a professional driver and had been accused of Failure to stop and Failure to report an accident that was alleged to have taken place in a Sainsbury’s car park where he was delivering goods.

He had been driving a large heavy goods vehicle and had scraped another vehicle whilst he attempted to reverse out of the delivery bay. Due to the size of the vehicle and the minor impact, he was unaware of any collision taking place or the fact that he had even touched the other vehicle which was considerably smaller in size. He failed to stop and report the incident.

He received a summons to attend Court where he was prosecuted for Failure to stop after an accident and Failure to report. He instructed us to represent him.

We presented his case to the Court, and prepared the case for trial. This included an expert collision report and a thorough preparation of his case with the aid of some crucial character references. He was represented at Court by one of our motoring barristers and after the trial he was found Not Guilty. The Court accepted that in the circumstances, he did not know the collision had taken place.

Result: Not Guilty – Court made order for our client’s legal fees to be paid back to him.

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