Failing to Stop or Remain at the Scene of an Accident

Graham Zoppi & Hillson

May 10, 2024
Hit and Run Lawyer in Toronto

After a crash, you might be confused about what to do next. The Criminal Code of Canada and the traffic laws in other provinces have strict obligations for drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents, including the obligation to remain on the scene.

Failing to meet your legal obligations as a driver can lead to severe legal consequences. We’ll cover the details in this post.

What the Law Says About Failing To Stop or Remain at the Scene of an Accident

According to Section 320.16 of the Criminal Code of Canada, any driver involved in an accident must:

  • Stop their vehicle
  • Provide their name and address
  • Assist any injured parties

The law applies even for minor accidents. Some provinces have other legal requirements, including reporting the accident to the police in the event of significant damage, injuries, or fatalities.

What Happens If You Fail To Stop?

Failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident may lead to the following:

Criminal Charges Filed Against You

If you’re convicted, you’ll get a criminal record. You may also pay significant fines or face time in prison. 

The severity of the punishment will depend on whether the accident caused a victim severe injury or even led to death. The maximum penalty for leaving the scene of an accident that causes injury is 14 years in prison. In the case of death, the penalty can be up to life imprisonment.

Provincial Penalties

Penalties a province can mete out to you after failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident include:

  • Significant fines
  • Demerit points on your driver’s record
  • Suspension of your driver’s licence

In Ontario, convicted defaulters may face a fine between $400 and $2,000 and have seven demerit points attached to their driver’s record. They may also have their licence suspended for up to two years.

Civil Lawsuits

Individuals injured in the accident may also file a civil lawsuit against you to seek compensation for damages. If you lose the case, you may be obligated to cover their claims for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.

Conclusion: Understand Your Responsibilities

Stopping and remaining at the scene of an accident is a legal requirement. If you can, assisting injured people after an accident might be the difference between them suffering life-altering injuries and making a full recovery. By operating a motor vehicle, drivers are bound by their obligations under the Criminal Code to remain at the scene.

Do you want to learn more about the dangers of failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident? Have you been charged with this offence? Contact Graham Zoppi, a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto, ON, at (416) 873-6970 to arrange a consultation.