Skip to main content

Failing to stop after an accident & report

If you have been involved in a motoring accident, the law requires you to stop at the scene and exchange correct personal details with any person who has reasonable grounds to request them. If details are not exchanged you must report to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 24 hours. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving injury or damage is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment. If you are charged with failing to stop after an accident you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.  At Cartwright King, we will advise you immediately and represent you in court should that be necessary.

Reporting an accident and the law

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988 s 170 (2), it is an offence for a driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle to fail to stop and give their details when involved in an accident that has caused either damage or injury to someone other than the driver or the drivers vehicle. You must give correct details to enable prompt communication and if you do not you are breaking the law.  It does not matter whose fault the accident was, and the requirement is to stop “at the scene”. If you revisit the scene after initially driving away for a short time you may still have committed an offence. 

If for some reason you fail to stop after being involved in an accident, or fail to exchange details, you must report the incident to the police as soon as reasonably practical and in any event within 24 hours of the time of the accident. The report must be made at a Police Station or to a Police Constable; a phone call will not necessarily be acceptable. If you fail to do this “as soon as practicable” and within the 24 hour period then it could result in a conviction. The court will decide what was “reasonably practicable”.

What sentence could you face?

Failing to stop if you have been involved in an accident is a serious offence and is generally treated as such by the Magistrates’ Court. Depending on the seriousness of the circumstances in your case, your courts powers to punish you include:

•    A fine of up to £5,000
•    5 – 10 penalty points
•    A potential driving ban
•    A prison sentence of up to 6 months

Although failing to stop is a serious offence, defences are available and if they apply to your case we will build a strong case for your defence. It is in your best interests to seek legal representation from someone who specialises in motoring law, which is an area where we can deliver.

What defence can you use?

It is always important to stop and report an accident, however if you have been charged with not doing so you may be able to defend the case. An example would be that you can only be found guilty of the offence if the court is satisfied that you knew an accident had occurred, and it is often possible to argue that you neither heard nor saw anything to suggest that an accident had happened. Alternatively, you may have stopped at the scene but not found anyone to exchange details with and only left after a reasonable period of time. 

Our specialist solicitors will take full details from you, advise you on the prosecution case and depending on the circumstances build a strong defence case for you. 

How can we help you?

Cartwright King are available to present your case in court and ensure that the court takes into consideration all the factors surrounding your case. You can be assured that you will receive the essential, high quality legal advice and representation from our solicitors at all times.

Why Choose Us?

At Cartwright King, our solicitors understand the stresses that being accused of failing to stop after an accident can cause and also the potential consequences for you and your driving licence. We are available to support you throughout the entire process, explaining the likely outcomes and fighting on your behalf.

How to make contact

If you require any legal advice or if you would like a no obligation, free initial telephone discussion, then please call us on 0808 168 5550. Alternatively you can email the Motoring team on and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Motoring solicitors provide advice across the country and are happy to meet at a time and location that suits you. We also have a network of offices in BirminghamBedfordDerbyLeedsLeicesterLondon TempleManchesterMiddlesbroughNorthamptonNottingham and Sheffield.


Email you enquiry:

Email your Enquiry

Please complete the form below providing a brief outline of your query, and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you shortly.

What clients say about us


Please provide a brief outline of your query below, and one of our specialist team members will be in touch with you shortly.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms
Email Cartwright King Solicitors
Call Cartwright King Solicitors