Failure to Stop

Frequently Asked Questions: Failure to Stop

What is Failure to Stop?
What is an “accident” within the meaning of this section?
Who do you have to assist in an accident?
What does it mean to have “intent to escape”?
What should you do if you are in an accident?
What if you leave the scene of the accident and then return?
Highway Traffic Act

What is Failure to Stop?

Section 252 of the Criminal Code makes it a criminal offence for a person who has the care, charge or control of a vehicle, vessel or aircraft that is involved in an accident with another person, a vehicle, vessel or aircraft, or in the case of a vehicle, cattle in the charge of another person, and with intent to escape civil or criminal liability fails to stop the vehicle, vessel or, if possible, the aircraft, give his or her name and address and, where any person has been injured or appears to require assistance, offer assistance. This is specific to this criminal offence: however, refer to the Highway Traffic Act provisions below for a broader capture of a fail to remain charge.

If you are reading this after you have been involved in an accident, the first step is: REMAIN SILENT AND CALL A LAWYER. It may be that your vehicle is with the police at the moment or it may be that you want to go to the police. Call Roxana Soica first because anything that you say may be extremely harmful to your case, even if you do not think so. Roxana understands your situation, the seriousness of the accident, and your worry about legal fees. The phone call is free of charge – you have nothing to lose.

What is an “accident” within the meaning of this section?

It does not matter if the accident was intentional or unintentional. It generally depends on the circumstances of your case but examples of incidents that were held to be accidents are:

  • Any contact between a car and a motorcyclist, even though no damage was caused
  • Driving over a dead body on the roadway

Who do you have to assist in an accident?

You are required to offer assistance to any person who has been injured or appears to require assistance. This includes another passenger in your own vehicle.

What does it mean to have “intent to escape”?

You must know that the accident occurred. The intent to escape must be related to civil or criminal liability from the accident itself. It does not include:

  • liability from other criminal charges such as robbery
  • liability from the police discovering that you have unpaid fines or were driving without a licence

There is a presumption at law that you did have an intent to escape civil or criminal liability if there is evidence that:

  • you either failed to stop; or
  • you failed to offer assistance where any person was injured or appeared to require assistance; or
  • you failed to give your name and address

What should you do if you are in an accident?

Do not leave immediately. If you are uncertain, you should call a lawyer. You may never know if someone was injured or requires assistance. Again, remain silent if the police asks for a statement.

What if you leave the scene of the accident and then return?

Where an accused stopped his vehicle and examined the other vehicle, found no one in proximity, and intended to make a report in the morning (which he did), this showed that he did not have the intent to escape criminal or civil liability. However, you should be careful about leaving the scene. The police may still want you to be charged and you will have to go through the criminal process to rebut the presumption that you did not leave the scene to avoid civil or criminal liability.

If the vehicle you struck is not occupied, your responsibility is to find the owner.


Generally, if no bodily harm or death is involved, the maximum imprisonment time is five years. A lawyer can negotiate with the Crown that they pursue this offence by way of summary election, which is unlikely to result in jail time or, for the very least, drastically reduce the otherwise severe impact on your life.

If this offence is committed knowing that bodily harm has been caused to another person involved in the accident, the maximum imprisonment term is ten years.

Imprisonment for life is the end game in the case of death or serious bodily harm that could result in death:

(a) the person knows that another person involved in the accident is dead; or

(b) the person knows that bodily harm has been caused to another person involved in the accident and is reckless as to whether the death of the other person results from that bodily harm, and the death of that other person so results.

 Driving prohibition: the Court also has the discretion to impose a driving prohibition, which can amount to years in length.

Highway Traffic Act

Sections 199 and 200 of the Highway Traffic Act govern the duties of a person involved in an accident. These include:

  • If the accident results in personal injuries or in damage to property exceeding $1,oo0.00, report the accident immediately to the nearest police officer and furnish him or her with the information concerning the accident as may be required by the officer, including the particulars of the accident, the persons involved, the extent of the personal injuries or property damage, if any, and the other information that may be necessary to complete a written report concerning the accident
  • Where an accident occurs on a highway*, every person in charge of the vehicle 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.

A lawyer may  turn a criminal charge into a Highway Traffic Act charge. However, there are a variety of defences available for the criminal charge, as well for a Highway Traffic Act charge.

There are OPTIONS. Call Roxana Soica today for a free consultation: 416.723.6497.

*Note that highway includes: includes a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof