Failing to stop after an accident

Q: I have received a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) for driving without due care, failing to stop and failing to report an accident. I was parking on the street at around 10:30am, and while doing so I clipped a parked car in front of me.

I got out and checked and didn’t see any significant damage; there was certainly no damage to my car but I panicked and drove off. I drove home to speak to my parents. I have only been driving for six months and didn’t know what I should do.

They told me that I didn’t need to do anything and not to worry about it. The other issue is that the time on the Notice is 17:30. 

I was parking on the street, and while doing so I clipped a parked car in front of me

A: If you recall being in that place in that vehicle, it’s likely that the time on the Notice is a typing error. The time needs to be confirmed with the police. If it does relate to when you parked at 10.30am, you need to confirm you were the driver by completing the Notice.

You need to get to the bottom of what the police are suggesting has happened. It’s likely to relate to the incident you mentioned, but to prosecute you for failing to stop and failing to report, the police will have to show damage was caused to the other vehicle. If there was no damage, you weren’t under a duty to stop or report it.

If it can be shown that damage was caused and you knew about it, you wouldn’t have a defence for failing to stop because you were under a duty to stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable amount of time to enable someone to request your details as necessary. You accept you simply drove off.

In relation to failing to report, you wouldn’t have a defence but you would have a Special Reasons argument on the basis you were misled by your parents. As an inexperienced driver, it would be reasonable for you to rely on advice from your parents. If Special Reasons are found, no points will be imposed for that offence.

With regard to driving without due care and attention, the police will have to show that the standard of your driving fell below that of a careful and competent driver. This again will depend on the evidence and what they are saying you have done. If a “careful and competent driver” in the same circumstances had caused the same damage then you would have a defence.

The best course of action would be to liaise with the police and persuade them to allow this matter to be resolved through insurance companies. Incidents like this are the whole purpose of insurance.

If the police are still considering taking it further, we will see if they will allow you to complete a Driver Improvement Course. This is an alternative to prosecution and will mean no further action is taken. It is certainly something we can help you with and have 96% success rate at persuading the police not to take any action.

You need to handle the process carefully because if it is taken to Court, you risk 5-10 points. As a new driver, if you receive six points or more during your probationary period you will have your licence revoked.

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FirstCar's legal expert is Emma Patterson, who runs Patterson Law, which specialises in motoring cases. If you've got a legal question, email us at and we'll get Emma to answer it for you. If you need the advice or representation of a great motoring lawyer, you can contact Emma or one of her colleagues, through her website.