Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Have you been charged with leaving the scene of an accident? If you have it is imperative that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

It is important to understand that a person can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident as a traffic offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 or a criminal offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.1.

What’s the difference?

Traffic offense:

If you have been issued a traffic ticket for leaving the scene of an accident it is for an accident that resulted in damage to property or a vehicle. The law states that any person involved in an accident resulting in damage in the amount of $250 or more is presumed to know that they were involved in the accident. The law also presumes that the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident is the registered owner of the vehicle. This means that even if someone else was driving your car when the accident occurs you are presumed to be the driver. It will then be your burden in court to prove that you were not in fact the driver of the vehicle.

Penalties for a first conviction are as follows:

  • 6 month loss of license
  • A fine between $200 and $400
  • Up to 30 days of imprisonment

For a second or subsequent offense the penalties are as follows:

  • 6 month loss of license
  • A fine between $400 and $600
  • A term of imprisonment of not less than 30 days but no more than 90.

It may seem like a minor traffic offense but in order to avoid these significant consequences it requires an experienced attorney to advocate on your behalf.

Criminal offense:

Under 2C:12-1.1 a motor vehicle operator who knows he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident under circumstances that violate the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person.

Also, understand that it is not a defense to say you were unaware of the person’s serious bodily injury.

Upon conviction of this offense you may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment between 3 to 5 years. There is a presumption of incarceration of 4 years meaning it is the burden of the defendant to show why he should be sentenced to less than 4 years. A fine of up to $150,000 will also be imposed.

Being charged with leaving the scene of an accident is certainly a crime that requires a skilled criminal defense attorney. At LS&P Lawyers we will work vigorously to defend you.