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scared out of my mind - not stopping after accident

(22 Posts)
notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 18:33:32

Namechanged as desperately scared and ashamed.

I bumped into a car at a service station (very gently - whilst reversing) - and as I saw no damage I went off. When I got back and saw the scrape on my car, I assumed that what damage there was, was on my car. Nonetheless I thought I might here more about it but could do nothing in the meantime. Now I've collected mail from my old address (moved a couple of months ago) and found letters from the police as well as insurers. I'm being threatened with prosecution and am totally terrified. If I had thought there was any damage I would not have gone away - I am just not that kind of person. Plus there was CCTV everywhere so I hardly thought I was going to try and 'get away with it' - I honestly thought there was no damage at the time.

Scared out of my mind - now stand accused of dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Visions of prison and Christ knows what. I WOULD NOT HAVE LEFT IF I HAD SEEN ANY DAMAGE. I wish I'd checked more closely. Please let me know if I it's likely I will go to prison for this. I am petrified.

notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 18:34:13

Sorry - should have said when I got back home i.e. a hundred miles later, not when I got back to the car park.

Not sure why the police are involved as my understanding is that you are only under an obligation to report to the police if there were injuries. Yes, you should have exchanged insurance details, but don't understand how it's a criminal offence?

notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 18:41:08

Precise accusation is - careless driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident. Ironically I was working so hard to avoid people that this was when I touched the other car. I am sure there were no injuries.

AnitaBlake Sun 19-Aug-12 18:42:37

Failure to stop is an offence, no matter how minor the accident. Your best bet is to own up and plead ignorance as to damage/liability etc as best you can tbh.

I know someone who was contacted by the police having clipped a wingmirror and not actually realised till they got home. Make sure you register your change of address with the DVLA asap too. Apologize for mix Ups and delays. Its not likely you'll go to prison but you might end up with points on your licence.

notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 18:45:50

Thank you, Anita - I'd actually got the forms on Friday (reason I had not done it before was because we were travelling and needed my passport and DVLA say not send passport if you need it within a month). I'm more than happy to come clean with my 'story' in asmuch as there isn't one other than being really stupid and not getting out to have a thorough look. I don't know how much damage the other driver has got - I had a scrape. Totally gutted and feeling so stupid. We could not live our lives where we are without cars i.e. kids couldn't even get to school sad.

AnitaBlake Sun 19-Aug-12 18:57:32

Notready, I've never heard of people going to prison, unless they are serial offenders! A mate failed to stop and was driving without a licence at the time, somehow he only got six points.

Maybe worth getting a 30min so with solicitors? They might be able to put your mind at rest?

notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 19:13:38

You're right Anita - the voice of reason! I've got to call my insurers and the police first thing (already called the police and they said not to worry today but call back tomorrow as no-one is there at the moment from traffic offenences). I can accept points/ fine because it's a bloody good lesson but can only say in mitigation that I honestly did not know - it's not like I checked then did a runner. I'll be calling a solicitor first thing too.

AnitaBlake Sun 19-Aug-12 19:54:29

Phew! I was so worried you'd think I was trolling for some reason smile keep us updated, those letters put the fear of god into you don't they? My CM showed me the one she got for speeding (not with the kids, she walks them everywhere!) and it was horrifying!

notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 20:19:44

God, no - thought did not cross my mind. Incidentally, DH (who is not used to seeing me blubbing like an idiot) looked over my shoulder just now and said 'I can't believe how cool MN is - that you can just post stuff like this and have some really bright people get back to you'! You are right, the letters are scary - and I'm such a boring, law-abiding person that of course I agree totally that they need to be this way. TBH, if I get away with a fine and points, I will still change the way I think when I drive forever as I have been so shaken up by this. I'm just about to pop round to my neighbour who is policeman to get is opinion too...will update. And THANK YOU for your posts.

Bonkerz Sun 19-Aug-12 20:27:17

My own car was hit when it was parked in a car park. I went to put shopping in boot and it was all caved in sad CcTV found the culprit and police were informed..... Nothing happened. The driver of the other car denied it despite it all being on CCTV and my car still has a caved in boot sad

This happened to a lodger of my parents years and years ago. He was leaving their road and clipped another car. He couldn't stope safely so drove then turned around and went back (took a couple minutes) by which time the car had gone. Anyway he had a court summons or something like that. It was all sorted relatively easily though and he definitely didn't go to prison!

AnitaBlake Sun 19-Aug-12 20:35:05

good luck notready, I'm sure he'll put your mind at rest xxx

notreadyforprison Sun 19-Aug-12 21:08:31

Bonkerz I'm sorry - that's lousy. I am totally up for accepting my fault - I just feel really defensive around the idea that I might have KNOWN I'd really messed up someone's car. Given the small scrape on my car and the gentle silent bump of the actual 'collision,' I'm still having difficulty believing that there has been serious damage - but whatever there is, I hope I'm woman enough to accept.
Saintly I'm really pleased that in that case it was solved quickly. I just hope that happens in this one too. Like a lot of people who have no experience of the police, I am frankly terrified of them.

vj32 Mon 20-Aug-12 19:39:07

I went through this as a victim recently, although in my case the man didn't notice he had hit my car (despite hitting it quite hard), and there was no CCTV but was a witness.

The police will do nothing about the damage if it is on private property, but they will be interested that you failed to stop, as that is a crime where ever it happens.

In my case the police asked what I wanted them to do - I knew it was a very old man driving the car, and was concerned he was not safe to drive. The officer went and spoke to him and his family (he was deaf so needed to have someone else there)

You do not need to be terrified of the police. In my experience they were reasonable and wanted to help me and the man who hit me rather than follow any agenda of their own. All the staff I spoke to were very nice, especially as I had my baby with me all the time and was quite shaken up.

OhDearNigel Tue 21-Aug-12 00:01:24

The law is that if you can't exchange details with the owner of the vehicle you must report it to the nearest police station (or more practically on the phone) within 24 hours.

You will be absolutely fine. I get lots of minor traffic matters coming through my caseload and the only driving offences where you can actually get a prison term are drink driving offences, death by dangerous and dangerous driving. I think failure to stop at the scene of an rtc is maximum of 6 penalty points and a fine. If you plead at the soonest possible opportunity you would probably get away with 3 points and a small fine, no court appearance as the court sentence G plea minor traffic matters in defendant's absence. It's only triable in a magistrates court so no judges, barristers in wigs and gowns or jury. It's all incredibly low key

Just to clarify, fail to stop is not classified as a crime. It's just an offence. You won't end up with a criminal record OP, don't worry. I really, really wish that the driving test would thoroughly cover the driver's legal responsibilities in the event of an accident as very few people know what they need to do

notreadyforprison Thu 23-Aug-12 20:09:03

ohdear and vj (and everyone else) - thank you for being so SANE and sensible. I'm shocked at how much of a major wobble this has given me. I've sent back all the paperwork to the police so now just waiting to hear what more they want/ need from me. I'm assuming I wait for more from the police rather than turning up howling and prostrated on the threshold of Beaconsfield Police Station (though Christ knows if that was the difference between court and not, I'd do that without a second thought). So just waiting really. But thank you thanks, I sleep better thanks to you lot.

TCOB Sat 13-Oct-12 21:05:55

Quick update (back to my real name as no longer petrified!) - police called to say they thought it was all a bit silly and not really a police matter. THANK GOD!!! Thank you so much for all being so lovely and calming. Looks like I'm not even getting points which frankly I can hardly believe. Going to be bloody careful in future though...

aleene Sat 13-Oct-12 21:13:46

That is good news!

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 13-Oct-12 21:20:26

Oh, good news!

MyNeighbourIsHorrid Sat 13-Oct-12 22:37:06

ohdearnigel I'm gald I'm not a clinet of yours. Fail to stop is an imprisonable offence, 6 months max. 5 to 10 penalty points or a ban. You can also go to prison for death by careless driving, and for failing to report an accident. You must report as soon as reasonably practicable AND in any event within 24 hours.
Better look up your road traffic law!

dickensonmills Wed 29-Oct-14 06:03:55

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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