Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties – Failing to Stop at the Scene of an Accident

The failure to stop at the scene of an accident is a very serious driving offence in the Criminal Code of Canada. Anyone who doesn’t stop his or her motor vehicle to give his or her name and address, and who has the intention of escaping civil and/or criminal liability after an accident, is guilty of the offence.

Sentences for those convicted of failing to stop at the scene of an accident vary depending on the circumstances. A good criminal defence lawyer can help have your charges be pursued summarily rather than by indictment. If convicted, that can have a significant impact on the type and severity of punishment that you will receive.

Those convicted of the summary offence of failing to stop at the scene can face up to six months in jail and a fine of $5000. Conversely, those convicted of the indictable offence, where no one was injured, could spend up to five years behind bars.

If someone was injured in the accident, and you failed to stop and offer assistance, sentences range all the way up to 10 years in jail. If the accident caused death, life imprisonment is a sentencing option.

As you can see, failing to stop at the scene of an accident can be a very serious criminal charge, and it is important to find a top quality criminal defence lawyer than can help you through the situation. A good lawyer can often convince a Judge that someone had cause to leave the scene, or work to lessen the severity of the Court’s sentence.

Ask an Ontario Lawyer: When Can the Police Seize My Car?

The police can seize a vehicle under the following circumstances:

  • When an arrest is made under s. 217(4) of the Highway Traffic Act;
  • When the vehicle is abandoned;
  • When the vehicle is unplated;
  • When the driver has received a license suspension;
  • Where the driver has been driving with a suspended license; or
  • Where the vehicle is blocking traffic or snow.

In some cases, if your vehicle has been seized you will need to bring an application to court to have the vehicle released.  An Ontario criminal defence lawyer can assist you with this process.