Fail to Remain at a Single Vehicle Crash

crash cartoonLast year I was involved in a single vehicle accident. I swerved to miss a raccoon (is what i think it was, anyways) and hit a curbed meridian. No injuries, noone else involved. I bent a rim on the car though and it looked like the tire was losing pressure bigtime, so I parked the car and went home to get a car dolley to tow it home and save on some ridiculous tow bill.

Turns out someone heard it and called the police and they were at my house not long after. The officer was nice enough, but gave me two tickets. One was failure to remain at the scene of an accident 68(1) and Driving without due care 144(1)(a).

Now, can I get a criminal record for these offences? Should I just take my medicine and pay them or challenge it in court?

I don't believe the 68(1) charge even applies to me because I've found cases from the Supreme Court ruling that 68(1) doesn't apply to single vehicle accidents. More than anything tho, I just don't want to lose my license or get a criminal record over this stupid mistake.

Can you shed any light on this? I might have ONE ticket on my record in the last 6 years if that makes a difference.

Well, based on only what you have related, it doesn't appear to me that the officer has a strong case against you. Let's look at the hit and run part first.

Duty of driver at accident

68  (1) The driver or operator or any other person in charge of a vehicle that is, directly or indirectly, involved in an accident on a highway must do all of the following:

(a) remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;

(b) render all reasonable assistance;

(c) produce in writing to any other driver involved in the accident and to anyone sustaining loss or injury, and, on request, to a witness

(i)  his or her name and address,

(ii)  the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle,

(iii)  the licence number of the vehicle, and

(iv)  particulars of the motor vehicle liability insurance card or financial responsibility card for that vehicle,

or such of that information as is requested.

If an accident occurs, you need to remain or return to it right away. It sounds like you didn't leave until you went to make arrangements to move your damaged vehicle. Was there assistance to provide to anyone? We don't know what happened to the raccoon, but it doesn't sound like any people were involved. Was any damage done to anything other than your own vehicle? Again, we don't know, but if there was it was up to you to identify yourself to them (or a witness who asks) and provide information. Such damage could include road signs, the curb, gouges in the boulevard if you jumped the curb or something similar. If there was no one there to notify, you will have to show that you did due diligence to notify them later on.

Turning to the driving without due care count:

Careless driving prohibited

144  (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a highway

(a) without due care and attention,

Swerving to avoid collision with an animal that suddenly appears on the roadway is not driving without due care all by itself. There must be more circumstances involved.

If you genuinely don't know what they are, the easiest way to find out is to request disclosure. Once you have that, you can better plan your defence or decide to dispute the penalty or just pay the ticket outright.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Well I know 144 comes with 6 points but is 68(1) a criminal offence or come with a crazy amount of points? Like the sort that would keep me from leaving the country? Is there a way I can approach the officer before the trial to agree on some type of deal that doesn't give me a criminal record and allows me to keep my license? I just cant afford to lose it with work and school and would agree to almost anything just so I can keep it. Even a prolonged probation?? I'm also not a greasy little rat who wants to loophole out of trouble, I can accept resonsibility for what happened, but it was just a mistake and am terrified of a criminal charge/losing my license.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

... and it seems doubtful to me, given the evidence presented here, that a judge would think any differently.  Definitely worth fighting one way or another; those raccoons aren't very well marked, as a rule.

Was the car left in a dangerous location, though?  If so, what was done to warn other drivers (flashers, flares, cones, etc)?  Was the damage in excess of $1,000 or whatever the current minimum is for it to be mandatorily reportable?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The conviction would show on your driving record, not your criminal record. It could restrict your ability to travel in the form of a driving prohibition depending on your circumstances.

Yes, you can try and deal with the officer for an alternate plea or a different resolution.