What Happens If You Fail To Stop Or Remain At The Scene Of An Accident?
If you are involved in an accident, you may feel an overwhelming flurry of emotions. Your heart is pounding, your mind is racing, and you have hundreds of questions running through your head. What should you do?
The specific answer will vary depending on where you live, but one thing always stays the same: don’t flee the scene. If you do, the legal trouble you could find yourself in will be considerably more severe.
After an accident, here’s what you need to do:
Steps to Take After a Collision
When your vehicle collides with another, the first thing you need to do is pull over. Your main priority is to make sure everyone involved is okay. Do each of the following steps:
- Stop your vehicle.
You are responsible for offering as much assistance as necessary for anyone impacted in the accident. When an accident occurs, stop your car and go to the other vehicle. Check on the status of those in the car.
- Seek medical assistance when necessary.
Has anyone involved in the accident been injured? Assess the health of other passengers, nearby pedestrians, and yourself. If medical attention is needed, dial 911 immediately.
- Provide your personal information.
For insurance purposes and legal reasons, you are required to give out your full name, address, licence plate, and phone number. Withholding this information or deliberately falsifying your personal details is a criminal offence.
- Call the police.
If the damage to the vehicle is under the reportable amount, you may not have to call the police. Be careful not to underestimate the expense of the damage, which could be seen as failing to report an accident. You must always report the accident to the police if people involved are injured.
What Happens if You Fail to Stop?
The failure to stop at an accident is often classified as a hybrid offence, since many factors will affect the severity of the circumstances. Depending on the situation, you could be charged with a summary or indictable offence.
A hit-and-run can incur serious criminal charges. Potential punishments for failing to remain at an accident include:
- A licence suspension & demerits
- A criminal record
- Jail time up to 10 years
The severity of these penalties will vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. If any people involved are gravely injured, there are fatalities due to the collision, or the driver was intoxicated, the punishments will be more serious—possibly resulting in life imprisonment.
Call a Criminal Lawyer
Before giving any statements to the police, we strongly advise that you seek legal advice. Officers have the right to use information you provide as evidence against you in court, so it’s important to choose your words carefully and accurately. Even if you are providing a recap of the events, you may unintentionally say something incriminating. You can respond to the police officer’s questions by saying you need to speak to a lawyer first.
Looking for a defence lawyer in Winnipeg? Matt Gould offers professional legal representation for charges such as driving under the influence or other driving offences. Call or text our 24-hour number today.