Defending NJ 2C:12-1.1. Leaving the scene of an accident.
After you read the following NJ criminal statute (leaving the scene of an accident) you may decide that you need the help of a lawyer, or need a legal interpretation of how this statute applies to your case. The firm of Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor. Call the number above for a free 24×7 phone consultation or read more about the assault charge.
Summary of the Leaving the Scene of an Accident Charge
Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal charge that can will be issued by New Jersey law enforcement when a driver is involved in a car accident and leaves the scene of the accident which resulted in serious bodily injury to another person. It is not relevant whether or not the driver who left the scene knew that serious bodily injury actually occurred as a result. The crime of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1.
What the Prosecutor Needs to Prove
A New Jersey motorist who knows that he or she has been involved in a car accident has a duty to immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene of the accident as possible and return to the scene. In order to prove that the defendant failed to do either, it must be established that he or she was aware that he or she was leaving the scene of an accident or was aware of a high probability that he or she is leaving the scene of an accident.
In addition to the act of leaving the scene, the prosecution must first prove that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle and was involved in an accident while doing so. Finally, the accident must have resulted in serious bodily injury to another person. Serious bodily injury is defined as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of any bodily member or organ.
What is at Stake?
If the State can prove the required elements for leaving the scene of an accident and the defendant is convicted, he or she is guilty of a third degree criminal offense. A third degree crime comes with the penalties of up to $15,000 in fines and the possibility of three to five years in prison. In addition to a charge for leaving the scene of an accident, the defendant could face charges under the offense of assault by auto under the New Jersey aggravated assault statute, with a separate sentence imposed for each conviction.
NJ Statute: 2C:12-1.1. Knowingly leaving scene of motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury, third degree crime.
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 R.S.39:4-129 shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person. The presumption of nonimprisonment set forth in N.J.S.2C:44-1 shall not apply to persons convicted under the provisions of this section.
If the evidence so warrants, nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude an indictment and conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:12-1.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:12-1 and a separate sentence shall be imposed upon each conviction.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:44-5 or any other provisions of law, whenever in the case of such multiple convictions the court imposes multiple sentences of imprisonment for more than one offense, those sentences shall run consecutively.
For the purposes of this section, neither knowledge of the serious bodily injury nor knowledge of the violation are elements of the offense and it shall not be a defense that the driver of the motor vehicle was unaware of the serious bodily injury or provisions of R.S.39:4-129.
L.1997, c.111, s.2; amended 2003, c.55, s.3; 2007, c.83, s.2.
See Also: 39:4-129. Leaving the scene of an accident.
AKA: NJ Criminal Charge 2C:12-1.1, Violation 2C:12-1.1, Offense 2C:12-1.1
Disclaimer: A copy of this statute has been provided for your information. This wording was current from the NJ website lis.njleg.state.nj.us as of August 2012.