This offence occurs where there has been an accident and the driver fails to stop and when reasonable required to do so fails to give their details to a person having reasonable grounds for requesting this information.
The details to be given typically include:
- Name and address of driver;
- Name and address of registered owner of vehicle (if person driving and owner of vehicle are different);
- Vehicle registration number; and
- Insurance details if known.
So even if the motorist stops after an accident but fails to give their details when requested, the offence of failure to stop is committed. It is important to note that you can be found guilty of the offence of failing to stop even if the accident is as a result of no fault of your own. This is an obligation on all motorists involved in an accident.
Defence of ‘no knowledge or unaware of an accident’
However, you are only legally obliged to stop if you are aware of the accident.
It is very simple – If you are not aware of an accident taking place, why would you stop and provide your details?
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.
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.
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