No one drives with the intent of crashing into another driver or pedestrian. However, due to negligence or misconduct of someone else, one gets involved in road accidents. This is understandable to an extent. But there are some who flee the scene of the crash right after striking another vehicle or person. This is not acceptable, at all!
It’s a criminal offence, and an offence under the Highway Traffic Act to flee the scene of a car accident; especially one where somebody has been hurt in a car accident.
The Criminal Code of Canada (Section 252).
Failure to stop at scene of accident
252. (1) Every person commits an offence who has the care, charge or control of a vehicle, vessel or aircraft that is involved in an accident with
(a) another person,
(b) a vehicle, vessel or aircraft, or
(c) 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.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada
Under the Highway Traffic Act, when an accident occurs, every person in charge of a vehicle that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident must:
Under the Highway Traffic Act
Whenever you are facing criminal charges for a hit and run, talk to an experienced lawyer who has dealt with similar cases in the past. A lawyer is instrumental in the development of a strong defense for your case.
Some of the tried and tested legal defenses an attorney can use in your defense include:
Knowledge is an important component of establishing someone’s fault in a hit and run. Of course, it is difficult to establish that you were totally unaware that you caused injury to someone else, or damage, with your vehicle.
People who are in fear for their lives are given leeway in many criminal cases. Killing someone, for instance, is usually not considered ‘murder’ if a person was in legitimate fear of their life. This is also a plausible defense in the case of a hit and run. If a person is on a rough side of town, for example, and they believe that they’re being set up to be robbed, they have a legitimate excuse for leaving. Also, if the driver believes they are at risk of harm from the other driver, they will likely have a legitimate defense. The main issue here is whether or not a ‘reasonable person’ would’ve had the same fear if put into a similar situation.
Statutes determine what constitutes a hit and run, and some provinces’ statutes say that drivers can be convicted of the crime only if the accident occurred on a public road. Other provinces’ laws aren’t as clear. But courts have tended to hold that, if a statute doesn’t refer to public roads, drivers can be convicted of hit and run for incidents on private property. (A couple examples of private property are store parking lots and residential driveways.)
You have a valid hit and run defense if you did not willfully leave the scene of the accident. For example, you were knocked unconscious in the course of the accident, and one of your passengers panicked, pushed you out of the driver’s seat, and sped away. Although a hit and run occurred while you had been driving, your failure to stop was not willful.
If you were driving to the hospital or responding to an emergency, maybe because your pregnant wife was in labor, you may be able to justify why you couldn’t stop after hitting another person’s property or lacked knowledge of an accident ever occurring.
Another hit and run defense is that of involuntary intoxication. This is incredibly difficult to prove, but it has been successful in the past. Involuntary toxication means that you were unknowingly drugged, which led to intoxication and the subsequent accident. A lot of evidence will need to be included in your case in order to show the judge that you were drugged and it led to your hit and run crash.
While many may believe that hit and run cases are simple, there are many technical defenses and legal strategies, which are effective against hit and run charges. It is in your best interest to acquire the services of Hit and Run Defense Attorneys network who have the legal skills and background necessary to successfully fight hit and run charges. Essentially, hiring legal representation in the early stages of the case can make the difference between facing criminal charges and potential prison time versus avoiding a criminal defense case altogether.
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