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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Leaving The Scene Of An Accident

Union NJ Leaving the Scene of an Accident Attorney

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense irrespective of whether your charge was filed under the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code or as a criminal matter. The reason why our attorneys make this statement is because significant penalties are imposed under both N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 (“Action in case of accident”) and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1.1. (“Knowingly leaving the scene of motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury, third degree crime”) in the event that you are convicted. The Union County defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help insure that you avoid a negative outcome to either offense in Elizabeth, Cranford, Union, Kenilworth, Clark or elsewhere in the region. An attorney is available 24/7 to assist you by contacting our Union NJ Law Office. Call us at 908-272-1700 for a free consultation with one of the attorneys at the firm.

N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 Leaving The Scene Of An Accident

N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 makes a distinction between leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to property and those collisions which result in personal injury. And when the motorist leaves the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury or death, an entirely separate felony criminal offense arises under 2C:12-1.1 (i.e. third degree crime) and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1 (i.e. second degree crime). The primary discussion on this page concerns a charge for leaving the scene of an accident under N.J.S.A. 39:3-129.

There are three different standards when it comes to the duty of a motorist at the scene of an accident. If someone is injured as the result of the collision, including the accused, he/she must: (1) provide his name and address to the other driver (if any); (2) present his/her driver’s license and vehicle registration to the parties involved; (3) render reasonable assistance to any injured persons; and (4) notify police of the accident. If the accident involved damage to attended property only, the duty is largely the same with the exception of when the damage is less than $500. If it is less than this threshold, there is no duty to notify the police provided the required information is provided to the property owner. If the property damage is unattended, then the motorist is required to engage in reasonable efforts to notify the owner of the accident and provide his credentials. In the event that the owner cannot be located, the driver must immediately report the accident to the police.

State of Mind Required. A driver must “knowingly” be involved in an accident in order for the duty imposed under this law to be triggered. Knowledge exists if a motorist is aware of his/her involvement in an accident or the circumstances are such that he/she reasonably should infer that there is a high probability of involved in an accident. Subsection (e) of 39:4-129 creates a presumption of knowledge whenever injuries, death or property damage of $250 or more is caused by an accident.

Statute of Limitation. A police officer or private citizen has up to one year to issue a summons/ticket for a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129. This represents a departure from the standard statute of limitation for writing a motor vehicle violation of thirty days.

Penalties That Apply To Leaving The Scene Of An Accident

Failure to comply with the duty created under this law can result in fines, suspension of your license and even jail. When the accident results in personal injury, a violation carries a fine of $2,500-$5,000 for a first offense, up to 180 days in the county jail and a license suspension of one year. The license suspension is for life for a second or subsequent conviction involving injury or death. If the accident results in damage to property only, the fine is $200-$400, the period of imprisonment is up to thirty days and the period of license suspension is six months. A subsequent conviction for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage results in a one year license suspension.

Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Involving Serious Personal Injury Or Death

Looking at the Criminal Code, this section of the Motor Vehicle Code is seriously supplemented by the N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1.  If a person violates N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 and the accident results in the death of another, fleeing the scene is a crime of the second degree. If the injuries are serious but do not result in death, leaving the scene is a third degree crime. The penalties include 5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000 for second degree leaving the scene of an accident. Third degree leaving the scene results in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Rahway NJ Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyer

Needless to say, whether your your case is proceeding as a criminal offense or motor vehicle summons, failure to successfully defend this charge will result in serious consequences. The penalties are certainly such that you owe it to yourself to consult with a skilled lawyer. This is exactly what the attorneys at our firm are prepared to undertake without obligation on your behalf. Call us anytime 24/7 if you were issued a ticket or arrested on this charge in Linden, Springfield, Westfield, Rahway, Roselle Park or any other jurisdiction in Union County. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is ready to protect you and do what it takes to insure that you maintain your privileges to drive and avert the other penalties that apply for this offense. Call us now at 908-272-1700 to speak to an attorney.

Related Resources That Can Be Found On This Site

Eluding the Police Obstructing the Administration of Law
Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution Driving While Intoxicated
Reckless Driving Failure to Report an Accident