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When is it OK to leave the scene of an accident? And what happens if I do?

By Elsie - 12 March 2009 42

I was recently involved in a minor accident (less than $100 damage) but when I gestured for the other driver to pull off the road he jumped out of his car, moved towards me and became aggressive. 

I have been a victim of crime and felt threatened so I drove off but reported the incident to the local police who felt I had behaved correctly. 

The other driver reported a different version of events at a different police station and that officer has now charged me to appear in court. 

I have a perfect driving record without as much as a parking fine.  I have been involved in 2 other accidents, one in which I was at fault and on both occasions I stopped and exchanged details. 

What can I expect and what is the worst that can happen?

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42 Responses to
When is it OK to leave the scene of an accident? And what happens if I do?
PBO 8:53 am 13 Mar 09

This sounds a bit iffy, exactly what did he do that was aggressive? And would it be seen as aggressive in the eyes of the law? Did you try to reason with him or were no words exchanged and you just drove off? Were you drinking or under the influence of drugs? Was there any other witnesses? So many variables…..

SadMushroom 8:47 am 13 Mar 09

If they guy approached you aggressively and you drove off, then how do they even know it was you?
Obviously you were both there long enough for him to get your car make and number plate. Then the police usually visit to ask who was driving.
Leaving the scene is only a fine,,they don’t even make you go to court.

I too beleive there is more that is not being told.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 6:27 am 13 Mar 09

Represent yourself in court, IF the facts as you’ve given them are the whole story. Save the $$$ you would have spent on a lawyer. According to the facts as you’ve given them, there’s no way a conviction would stand up or be recorded.

Trouble is, actual facts are kinda thin according to what’s been posted here, and certainly aren’t the whole story.

YapYapYap 10:55 pm 12 Mar 09

Talk to your insurer.

Piratemonkey 10:23 pm 12 Mar 09

Couldn’t you just go have a chat to legal aid?

Say here is what happened what do I do? I have a feeling they might agree with TAD. If their are no witnesses either way or some one on your side id say you’ll be fine. You do need professional advice tho. Legal aid will be able too tell you who to write too and what to say, or to get a lawyer.

I-filed 9:50 pm 12 Mar 09

Represent yourself in court, IF the facts as you’ve given them are the whole story. Save the $$$ you would have spent on a lawyer. According to the facts as you’ve given them, there’s no way a conviction would stand up or be recorded. Why don’t you contact the Victims of Crime support unit and get some advice from them? They’re located at the Court.

It’s understandable that the police who heard the other side may have assumed you left to avoid being tested for alcohol or whatever. Once you’ve given your statement of facts (and an outline of your state of fear) they are likely to withdraw the charge altogether, particularly if no-one was injured during the accident and the damage was $100. That seems an extraordinarily low amount by the way. Is that for painting a small scratch? Must be!

bigred 9:47 pm 12 Mar 09

My advice is that you sit down and write your notes about what happened without further dealy. Then, talk to friends at work etc (as well as here) about who might be a good lawyer for traffic matters. I have been told Mark Fleming is the best in town for traffic matters. Do not delay any more.

Deckard 9:34 pm 12 Mar 09

If you don’t get off maybe you’d be able to write us a review of what it’s like on the inside of the new jail 😉

On second thoughts it might not be open – in that case how about an article on the overcrowding in the Belconnen remand centre??

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 9:32 pm 12 Mar 09

I reckon you need legal advice. Simply suggesting that the other driver ‘became aggressive’ is very vague, and really doesn’t mean anything? Did the other driver actually threaten you, raise their voice, etc?

What happened leading up to the accident? Did you tailgate, cut the other driver off, make a rude gesture? People don’t generally go mental over minor traffic accidents.

Also, who caused the accident? Were you doing something silly when it happened? Texting, talking on mobile, etc? I think there are a lot of people who post here that probably could help you, but more details are needed.

bd84 9:19 pm 12 Mar 09

Well the only “legal” occasion to leave the scene of an accident is after you have exchanged details. Though you haven’t really defined how the other was being “aggressive” one would think that an imminent threat of danger or violence would be the only occasion to drive off (which I don’t really see in the info provided there). It would be handy if you had a witness to the accident, otherwise get a lawyer and see what they can do for you.

Mr Waffle 9:10 pm 12 Mar 09

“but when I gestured for the other driver to pull off the road”

I don’t suppose he assumed you were giving him the one-finger salute…

Special G 7:48 pm 12 Mar 09

I think Majorca is fantastic this time of year. They will never be able to get you extradicted from there.

Spideydog 7:39 pm 12 Mar 09

bigfeet said :

“so I drove off but reported the incident to the local police”

When? Straight away, the next day, three weeks later? That will make a difference.

“that officer has now charged me to appear in court”.

By a summons? Out of the blue without police making contact with you beforehand? Were you given the opportunity by the police to present your side of the story or to make a statement?

Something tells me you are not telling the whole story here.

But anyway, legal advice from a bunch of random gits on an internet forum is hardly a smart move.

Go see a solicitor.

Agreed 🙂

bigfeet 7:25 pm 12 Mar 09

“so I drove off but reported the incident to the local police”

When? Straight away, the next day, three weeks later? That will make a difference.

“that officer has now charged me to appear in court”.

By a summons? Out of the blue without police making contact with you beforehand? Were you given the opportunity by the police to present your side of the story or to make a statement?

Something tells me you are not telling the whole story here.

But anyway, legal advice from a bunch of random gits on an internet forum is hardly a smart move.

Go see a solicitor.

willo 7:09 pm 12 Mar 09

hmmm……i wonder….where did this happen elsie? (just roughly will do)i may have witnessed this incident…..

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