Bang! You’ve just collided with another vehicle, or slid off the road and crashed your car. Your car is still drivable and immediately you imagine the blowback that’s going to happen once the police get involved. Your insurance rate is going to go through the roof. You’re probably going to be charged by the police and face a potential record of conviction and large fine. Is this going to cause a license suspension? Worst of all, what is your family going to think of you if you get charged by the police.
In a moment of panic, you drive away. What’s the worst that could happen?
Sure enough the next day you receive a telephone call from a police officer who states that a witness saw you leave the scene of the collision. You’re asked to attend the police station. Upon you’re arrival the officer you spoke to on the telephone serves you with a summons for Fail To Remain.
What is this offence? What penalties are you facing? What can you do?
Let’s take a look…
FAIL TO REMAIN
Fail To Remain falls under Highway Traffic Act (HTA) section 200:
“Duty of person in charge of vehicle in case of accident
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 license 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.”
It is not uncommon to see other charges such as Careless Driving issued in conjunction with a Fail To Remain summons.
The MTO can assign a demerit point penalty ranging from 0 for the most minor offences, up to 7 for the most serious offences. Unfortunately, Fail To Remain carries a 7 demerit point penalty. This is the highest possible demerit point penalty that can be applied against a driver convicted under the Highway Traffic Act.
A conviction for Fail To Remain can also have a severe impact on your insurance rate including no longer qualifying for standard insurance coverage. Your insurance broker can provide you with specific feedback about the potential impact of a conviction.
Highway Traffic Act section 200(2) deals with penalties that can be issued by the court upon conviction:
“(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 license or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 54.”
The court penalties that can be applied in these matters are some of most aggressive that can be found in the Highway Traffic Act. Upon conviction the Court can issue a fine ranging between $400 to $2,000. This fine is subject to the 25% victim fine surcharge for a total-payable fine ranging between $500 and $2,500. In addition, the court can issue a term of imprisonment of not more than six months and a driver’s license suspension up to two years.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers face further consequences should they be convicted of Fail To Remain. Generally a conviction for this offence may result in no longer being employable in the transportation industry. The CVOR point penalties for a conviction under HTA section 200 depend upon which subsection you have been charged:
- HTA s.200(1)(a) – 5 CVOR Points
- HTA s.200(1)(b) – 3 CVOR Points
- HTA s.200(1)(c) – 3 CVOR Points
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
On a summons for Fail To Remain will be a first court date known as a First Appearance hearing. These are generally very brief court appearances and result in the matter being adjourned to another court date. This allows time for the Crown Prosecutor to gather their evidence for trial and for the defence to service notice to the Prosecutor’s Office for a disclosure of that evidence.
Once the two sides of the case have reviewed evidence, they will generally meeting for an informal review of evidence to determine whether or not the Prosecutor has enough evidence to proceed to trial or whether there is a fatal defect in their case that would require the charge to be withdrawn. If the charge can not be withdrawn at this stage, it is common for the two sides to discuss possible resolutions in reducing the nature of the charge(s) and penalties against the Defendant. Where no acceptable resolution can be reached, the matter will then proceed to be argued at trial.
Given the serious consequences of a Fail To Remain conviction, these charges should generally be aggressively defended.
A conviction for Fail To Remain results in a 7 demerit point penalty, 3 to 5 CVOR points, a total-payable fine between $500 and $2,500, a driver’s license suspension up to two years, and a possible imprisonment not to exceed six months. These penalties are some of the most serious that can be issued under the Highway Traffic Act. As such it is important to aggressively defend your interests at court should you be charged with this offence.
Have You Been Charged With Failure To Remain Or Report A Car Accident In Ontario?
If you’ve been charged with failure to remain at a car accident or failure to report a car accident in Ontario you should contact us as soon as possible. We have skill and experience in helping drivers just like you respond to accusations of failing to report a car accident or failure to remain at the scene and provide free, confidential consultations to empower you to fight your charges. We help drivers throughout Ontario including Cambridge, Georgetown, London, Windsor and from our home office in Kitchener. Contact us online or call us directly at 1.844.647.6869 or text us a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480.