Failing to stop after an accident

This client came to see us having been charged with a summons alleging that having been involved in an accident he had failed to stop to give his details to the driver of the other vehicle involved. He was particularly worried about this offence because it carries a maximum of 10 penalty points and if the Court were to impose this number of points on his licence then he was in danger of losing it through the "totting up" procedure. He said that he had been involved in an accident and had got out of his car to speak with the driver of the other vehicle. The accident involved him having driven into the back of the car in question but he said that it was a very low impact accident and when he got out of his car he could see that because of the low intensity of the incident there had been no damage caused to the other car and for this reason he drove off. The law requires a driver who is involved in an accident to stop and give his or her details to any other person who may reasonably require them. On the face of it, it seemed therefore that the client was guilty of the offence as charged. However the law also provides that this obligation does not arise if there is no damage to the other vehicle or if there has been no personal injury to anybody arising out of the accident and therefore the client was advised that as there was no damage and clearly no injury to the other driver who was the only person in the other vehicle that in fact he did not have an obligation with which he needed to comply. We therefore advised him to plead not guilty which he did. We disclosed this defence to the prosecution who did not have enough information on their papers at that time to be able to make a decision and so the case was listed for trial. A few days before the trial a notice was received from the prosecution discontinuing the case against our client. He was not eligible for legal aid because the alleged offence itself was not serious enough and so an application was made for his costs to be paid from Central Funds.