I was charged with two summons: 1) Failing to remain at a collision I was involved in and 2) Careless driving. The road was wet and I slid off the road when I hit some black ice. I hit a sign and had some damage to my car. No other vehicle or people were involved. Someone must have got my licence plate because the police just showed up at my house later and charged me. It looks like I’m going to need some help here.
You have been issued two of the most serious offences under the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario. Careless Driving is a 6 demerit point offence and is issued under HTA s.130:
30. Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 41.
Fail To Remain is a 7 demerit point offence and is issued under HTA s.200:
200. (1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall,
(a) remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;
(b) render all possible assistance; and
(c) upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 200 (1); 1997, c. 12, s. 16.
(2) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition the person’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years.
The penalty section for both offences contain identical fines of $400 to $2,000 (plus the 25 % victim fine surcharge), up to two years of licence suspension, and up to 6 months imprisonment. Generally the insurance repercussions for a conviction of either offence, let alone both, would result in no longer being able to remain under a standard insurance coverage policy.
Given the severity of the offences and their related penalties, I would recommend contacting my office as soon as possible. You’re going to have a first appearance court date on the summons and we will have some groundwork to do in advance of that hearing. Your description of the events involved in the collision are fairly minimal. I’m going to have some very specific questions for you, but in the meanwhile you can collect together your thoughts and type it out as a detailed Summary of Events for me to review with you.
If your matter makes it all the way to a trial, given the serious nature of the offences, I will want to have you present for the hearing whether or not you actually speak in the courtroom. Ideally however we can try to resolve the matter without the need for trial or the need for you to make a court appearance. Once we have received and reviewed the Prosecutor’s disclosure package we’ll know whether or not there is a sufficiently strong legal argument to simply have the charges withdrawn at that time. This would be our best case scenario to simply have the charges withdrawn without the need for further court appearances. If not, we can set an early resolution meeting to sit down with the Prosecutor on your behalf to negotiate a potential plea deal to review with you.
It will be important to speak with you as early in advance of your first court date so that we can be retained as your legal representative and gather the necessary details and documents for your case. We offer a no cost, no obligation initial consultation. It sounds like your matter will be relatively involved and we may need up to an hour to go through the details of your collision and offences. I may be reached via our toll free number 1-844-647-6869 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to being of assistance to you in this matter.