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”.