Fleeing the scene of a hit and run accident is a crime. In most states, felony hit and run occurs when somebody flees an accident after injuring somebody else. The penalties if you are caught include fines and incarceration. If there is only property damage and no other person is present, leaving the information attached to the damaged property may be sufficient, provided the person causing the accident makes a report to the police.
Hit and run statutes vary from state to state. This can occur even if the driver of the vehicle was not at fault for the accident. However, more likely scenarios include a driver hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian and then leaving the scene of the accident or a driver hitting a parked vehicle.
There are two different types of charges for a hit and run in Ontario. They can either be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada or the Highway Traffic Act.
1. Criminal Code – “Failure to stop after accident”
The charge of fail to stop after an accident under section 320.16 (1) of the Criminal Code requires the Crown prosecutor to prove that:
Hit and run is defined in Canada as failure to stop at the scene of an accident under the Criminal Code and is subject to a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
2. Highway traffic act – “ Fail to remain or stop”
Under the Highway traffic act,when an accident occurs,every person in charge of vehicle that is involved in accident must:
Canadians are also required to provide their name, address and license number in writing according to the Sec. 252 (1) of the Criminal Code.
1.Pull over safely
When one party in an accident flees, it’s important to stay to talk to witnesses, insurance representatives, and the police. A federal hit and run statute exists nationwide in order to protect all drivers and pedestrians, and is a law that requires motorists who are involved in a collision to remain at the scene of the accident, exchange information with the other driver(s) and/or to file a police report. Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a serious charge. Unfortunately, the statute is a law that is not always followed.
2.Call the Police
Obviously, the first step after any accident should be to call the police and report the accident as well as any injuries. The police will record the accident scene, take statements from you and any other victims or witnesses, and anyone needing medical attention will be treated or taken to a hospital. Many times the police may call or send a letter asking the driver to come to the police station to make an incriminating statement. When you retain the services of OTT Legal we will represent and give you guidance regarding dealing with the police so that your rights are protected.
3. Look For Evidence
The first thing to understand when you’re involved in a hit and run is that many of these cases are never resolved that is, the police don’t find the person who committed the crime. Hit and run accidents are, by the way, crimes, and if a driver can be found, they will likely be subject to criminal charges as well as any civil penalties from your injury case. You should also write down everything you can remember: what happened immediately before and after the collision, and any details about the other vehicle. The license plate number is most important, though it isn’t always easy to get.
4. Contact Your Insurance company
It’s important to report your hit and run accident to the police within 24 hours of the event in order to classify the accident as “not at fault.” If you have comprehensive cover, you can make a claim, but you may lose some or all your no claims discount as well as paying a large excess. Some insurers offer no claims discount (NCD) protection that maintains your NCD.Of course, this coverage is often limited, so it is usually better to work with the insurance company, law enforcement, and your own attorney in identifying who the other driver was in order to obtain the full benefit of their coverage.
Hit and run charges are incredibly serious and a conviction can change your life forever. If convicted, you will face time in jail, be required to pay substantial criminal fines, and may lose your driving privileges for a period of time you can expect that our legal team will challenge the state’s case against you at every stage of the process to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. We will conduct our own investigation into your case, never simply relying on the evidence handed over by the prosecution, so that we can uncover any potential evidence of your innocence.
As you probably already found out, your licence has been suspended for 90 days, and you will face the difficult choice of pleading guilty to be eligible for the “Stream A” licence suspension, or going to trial and risk being ineligible for the reduced licence suspension. There are many different things you are likely concerned about in the aftermath of an accident. That’s why we work hard to keep you informed over the duration of your case so that you can make informed decisions about your future.
If you have recently been charged with a hit and run offence, you will need an experienced criminal lawyer right away. Hit & run is a far more serious charge than a normal traffic violation and will be aggressively prosecuted in court. It is not advisable to attempt to defend yourself in court in this situation.
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