Failure to Provide Driver Details or to Stop After an Accident

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Failure to Provide Driver Details or to Stop After an Accident

Have you been accused of failing to stop after a car accident, or of failing to report an accident? Are you alleged to have been involved in an accident that you have no knowledge of? JMW's expert motoring solicitors are here to provide you with the legal advice and services you need after being charged with an accident offence.

With 100-plus years of experience, our team of motoring offence specialists are in the perfect position to help you secure a positive outcome. Our success rate in defending accident offence allegations and reducing penalties speaks for itself, so let us help you.

To contact our team of specialists and find out how we can help you, call us for free on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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What Happens if You Fail to Stop at an Accident?

Drivers who have been involved in a road accident that has caused damage or personal injury have a legal duty to stop at the scene for long enough for anyone involved to exchange details. They must then provide certain information to the injured party or the owner of the damaged property.

The information that must be provided is:

  • Full name and address of the driver
  • Full name and address of the owner of the vehicle (if different to the driver)
  • Vehicle identification/registration number

It is not a legal requirement in every scenario to provide your insurance details, but it is advisable to do so. You must provide your insurance certificate if personal injury has been caused to another person and you’ve been asked for it by the police or anyone involved in the accident.

Failure to Report a Road Accident Explained

If drivers fail to stop and provide information, they have a legal obligation to report the accident to the police as soon as is reasonably possible within 24 hours. Otherwise, drivers may be charged with a failure to report an accident offence - also known as failure to provide driver details, or a failure to furnish information penalty.

If you receive an official police request for driver information, do not ignore it, even if you were not involved in the accident. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, all drivers are required to provide the police with information about their vehicle and the circumstances of an accident they were involved in or witnessed. Failure to do so is a criminal offence and carries significant penalties.

What is the Penalty for Failing to Stop After an Accident, or for Failing to Report an Accident?

If it’s believed the driver failed to stop and failed to report the accident, they can be charged with both or either of the offences. This may be done through a notice of intended prosecution (NIP). Information about the nature of the offence, when and where it took place, and the penalties the driver is facing will be included within.

The penalties for both offences are potentially very serious. In line with the failure to stop or failure to provide driver details S172 sentencing guidelines, they could include:

  • Up to six months' imprisonment
  • Disqualification from driving or five to 10 penalty points on your licence
  • Unlimited fine

What Information Am I Required to Provide if I Am Involved in an Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, you are typically required to stop at the scene and provide the following information:

  1. Your name and address: you must provide your name and address to anyone involved in the accident if there is damage or injury. If you are not the vehicle's owner, you must also provide the owner's name and address.
  2. Vehicle registration number: you should provide the registration number of the vehicle you were driving.
  3. Insurance details: while you might not have to provide insurance details at the scene, you should provide them to the police if asked within a reasonable time frame.

What Should I Do if I Panic and Leave the Scene of an Accident Unintentionally?

Leaving the scene of an accident without stopping and providing the required information is a serious offence. If you panic and leave the scene unintentionally, here are some steps you should consider taking:

  1. Return to the scene if it is safe: if you realise your mistake quickly and it is safe to do so, consider returning to the scene of the accident
  2. Report the accident to the police: if you cannot return to the scene, you should report the accident to the police within 24 hours, but the sooner the better. Explain the situation honestly, including your reasons for leaving the scene
  3. Contact your insurance company: notify your insurance company of the accident, providing them with all relevant details
  4. Seek legal advice: given the serious nature of leaving the scene of an accident, it might be advisable to seek legal advice, especially if there were injuries or significant damages involved. A legal professional can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and obligations

How Can a Solicitor Help Me if I Have Been Charged with Failing to Stop After an Accident, or for Failing to Provide Details?

The team at JMW can guide you through the entire process of dealing with a motoring offence. We will start by helping you understand the laws related to the offence so you can understand the penalties you may be facing. By thoroughly reviewing the facts of your case, gathering evidence, and assessing the strength of the prosecution's case, we will build a strong defence to either reduce or remove your charges. This defence may include challenging the evidence, presenting alternative explanations, or arguing legal technicalities. If your case goes to court, your solicitor will represent you, presenting your argument.

The process of being charged with a criminal offence can be stressful, but a solicitor can guide you through each step, providing the support and representation needed to navigate the legal system.

Why Choose JMW?

JMW has developed a reputation for having one of the country’s leading motoring offence departments and has received recognition from prestigious guides such as The Legal 500 and the Chambers & Partners guide.

We pride ourselves on our success rate in helping our clients defend allegations or reduce the penalties imposed by the court for accident offences.

What is more, we ensure we provide all legal advice in clear and easy-to-understand language to give you the best possible chance of a positive outcome without adding to the stress you are doubtless already feeling.

Whether you have been charged with failing to report an accident, failing to stop following an accident or both, we can help you either defend the allegation or reduce the potential penalty imposed by the court.

FAQs About Offences Relating to Failing to Stop After an Accident and Failing to Report an Accident

Should I contact the police after a minor accident even if there are no injuries?

You are not usually required to contact the police after a minor accident if there are no injuries and all parties have exchanged the necessary information (names, addresses and registration numbers). However, there might be situations where it is still advisable to report a minor accident to the police, such as:

  • If there is a disagreement between the parties involved
  • If you have hit an unattended vehicle or property and are unable to locate the owner
  • If you suspect the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or involved in other illegal activities
  • If you feel it's necessary for insurance purposes

If you are unsure about your obligations or options, it may be wise to consult with a legal expert, such as those at JMW.

Is it considered a hit-and-run if I hit an unattended vehicle or property, like a parked car or a fence?

Hitting an unattended vehicle or property and leaving the scene without making an effort to notify the owner or leave your contact information can be considered a hit-and-run offence. Even if the property owner is not present, you are still required to take reasonable steps to inform them of the accident, such as leaving a note with your contact information and a brief description of the incident. Failing to do so may lead to legal consequences, including fines or other penalties.

Can I be charged with hit-and-run if I was not at fault in the accident?

You can be charged with a hit-and-run even if you were not at fault in the accident. The hit-and-run laws typically focus on the act of leaving the scene without providing aid or the required information, rather than who caused the accident. So even if the other party was at fault, leaving the scene without complying with the legal requirements could result in a hit-and-run charge for you.

What should I do if I witness someone else leaving the scene of an accident?

If you witness someone leaving the scene of an accident, here are some steps you might consider taking, always prioritising your safety:

  1. Record information: if possible and safe to do so, take note of the vehicle's make, model, colour, licence plate number, and any other distinguishing features. This information could be vital to law enforcement
  2. Call the authorities: contact the police and provide them with the information you have gathered, along with any details about the accident itself, such as the location, time, and a description of what happened
  3. Stay at the scene: if you are able, stay at the scene until the authorities arrive, especially if there are injured parties that require assistance
  4. Provide a statement: the police may wish to take a statement from you as a witness to the incident. Your testimony could be crucial in tracking down the individual who left the scene and holding them responsible
  5. Do not pursue: it is not advisable to try to chase or confront the individual who left the scene yourself. Law enforcement professionals are trained to handle these situations and are best equipped to pursue the individual if necessary

Talk to Us

To get in touch with us and find out how we can help if you have been accused of failure to stop or failure to report an accident, call 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form.