What To Do If You’re Charged With A Parking Lot Hit And Run

There are a number of misunderstandings surrounding a hit and run accident, also known as  “failure to remain” offence.

The stereotype of a driver who is involved in an accident and leaves the scene without stopping is just one reason why a driver may face charges of hit and run. Even if the driver stays for some time, but later leaves the scene of an accident without giving the following information, he or she may still be charged with a hit and run.

  • Name and address
  • Driver’s Licence number and jurisdiction
  • The vehicle’s insurer and policy number
  • The name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle
  • Vehicle permit number

When You’re Charged With a Hit & Run in a Parking Lot

Another misunderstanding about hit and run charges is that, if you hit a parked car in a parking lot, it’s not always a matter for the police, and there is not necessarily a penalty for a hit and run in a parking lot.

Make no mistake, you can be charged if you leave the scene of a parking lot collision in the same way as for car accidents on the street. And you face the same penalties too, including:

  • A fine of between $400-$2000
  • Seven demerit points
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s licence for up to two years
  • Possible jail time of up to six months

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that you must file a police report for motor vehicle accidents that involve one or more of the following criteria. This includes accidents that occur in parking lots.

  • Personal injury
  • Property damage in excess of $2,000
  • Damage to highway property

If the collision involves personal injury, you should call 911. If the collision doesn’t involve personal injury or require an emergency response for any other reason, you should call the direct number for your local police. The police may choose not to send a police officer to the accident scene and direct you instead to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre.

In that case, you do not need to supply the information listed above at the scene of the accident, but you must do so to the officers at the Collision Reporting Centre.

If you leave the scene of an accident in a parking lot without at least leaving a note with your contact information, and the other details listed above, or reporting the accident to the police, you may eventually be charged with “Fail to Report”.

In those cases, you may receive a letter or phone call from the police asking you to visit the police station and make a statement about the accident.

Do not visit the police station before contacting and getting the legal advice of a complete defence team, like the one at X-Copper, with experience and expertise in defending against fail to report charges. 

There are many mitigating circumstances in a parking lot collision, including that you may not even have known that you hit another vehicle. But the consequences can be serious and, even if you’re innocent, it’s a mistake to ignore the charges or defend yourself in court. Get in touch with us today to get a free quote.

You can find more about what to do if you face other types of driving charges in our other blog posts, including “What To Do If You Get Caught In A Speed Trap”.




How to Stop a Fake Car Accident Claim

It’s an auto insurance scam that costs car insurance companies millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. A cost that’s handed down to drivers in the form of higher insurance rates. Insurance fraud through a fake car accident claim is on the rise across Canada and no driver should feel immune from becoming a victim.

How Fake Car Accidents Happen

Sometimes called staged accidents, they can happen in many different ways. The following are among the most common set-ups that scammers use to make claims for staged collisions.

  • Another vehicle intentionally drives into your vehicle
  • Real accidents with injury claims for victims who were not involved in the accident, or for fake injuries.
  • Accident reports for auto accidents that did not happen

In addition to paying for the overall cost of fake insurance claims through higher average insurance rates, innocent drivers may also face increased rates for their own car insurance if they are found “at fault” in a staged accident.

6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Fake Car Accidents Claims

If you are in a car accident, take the following steps to reduce your chance of becoming the victim of a car insurance scam.

  1. Get full names and contact information (mailing address, telephone number, email address) for the other driver(s) and the other occupant(s) of the vehicle(s).
  2. Write or record your observations about the physical condition of the other driver(s) and occupant(s). Are they injured? What’s been injured? Or are they walking around without any apparent injury?
  3. Use a camera or your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take images of the overall scene from different angles. Take images of each car involved in the accident. Get images of the license plates of each car involved, and pictures of the damage to each car.
  4. When police arrive, ask for a copy of their accident report. If police don’t attend, write down everything you can remember about the circumstances that lead up to the accident and call the police as soon as you can to file a report about the accident.
  5. Look for witnesses and ask for their contact information 
  6. If anyone else recommends that you use a particular tow truck company or auto repair shop, don’t take their advice. Research and retain your own tow truck and body shop.

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about what to do if you get caught in a speed trap.




Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

You may have heard differently, but Ontarians have never been able to refuse a breathalyzer without facing a consequence of one form or another.

What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

The reasons for confusion around whether or not you can refuse to comply with a breath sample request includes the laws as they were up until late last year. Before new laws came into effect last December, police needed to have reasonable suspicion of impaired driving before demanding a roadside breath test.

Today, police no longer need to have reasonable suspicion to demand an on-the-spot roadside breath test. And refusing a breathalyzer can result in criminal charges similar to those of being convicted of a DUI charge.

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer?

The government was forced to eliminate the need for reasonable suspicion because studies showed that up to 50% of impaired drivers were not being detected by police officers at roadside stops.

In Ireland, authorities credit mandatory roadside breathalyzer tests with a 40% reduction in the number of road deaths due to impaired driving.

Here are just some of the minimum penalties a driver can face for a first-time conviction for refusing a breathalyzer. You can also face these penalties for refusing to give a breath sample at a police station, mobile police station and/or hospital.

  1. Drivers license suspension for one year.
  2. Pay a fine of $1,000 or more
  3. Mandatory participation in a Provincial counselling program at your own expense
  4. Installation of an ignition interlock system, also at your own expense, for one year

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about the law for drinking and boating.




What Should You Do If You’re in a Minor Collision?

dos and donts of accidentsIf you find yourself in a fender bender, whether or not it was your fault, what should you do next? Because of the nature of insurance and police reports, there are some things you should do at the sight of the collision, and some things you should avoid. Here are a few things to keep in mind, should you ever find yourself in this situation.

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6 Common Causes of Car Accidents

car crashes

The very first car-related fatality occurred in London in 1896. Since then, millions of people around the world have died on the road, for a variety of different reasons. Although statistics vary widely from place to place, some factors remain consistent worldwide. Here are six common causes of car accidents:

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Toronto Police are No Longer Responding to Minor Collisions

Toronto Police are No Longer Responding to Minor CollisionsToronto police have recently changed the way they are responding to traffic collisions. In the last year alone, they arrived at the scene of approximately 64,000 traffic accidents within the city limits, which is an increase of 6,000 from two years previously. About 70% of these calls were for minor fender benders, and did not require police presence.

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