Defending NJ 39:4-130. Reporting a car accident.
After you read the following NJ Criminal Statute (Reporting a car 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.
NJ Statute: 39:4-130. Immediate notice of accident; written report.
The driver of a vehicle or street car involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, or damage to property of any one person in excess of $500.00 shall by the quickest means of communication give notice of such accident to the local police department or to the nearest office of the county police of the county or of the State Police, and in addition shall within 10 days after such accident forward a written report of such accident to the commission on forms furnished by it. Such written reports shall contain sufficiently detailed information with reference to a motor vehicle accident, including the cause, the conditions then existing, the persons and vehicles involved and such information as may be necessary to enable the chief administrator to determine whether the requirements for the deposit of security required by law are inapplicable by reason of the existence of insurance or other circumstances. The chief administrator may rely upon the accuracy of the information contained in any such report, unless he has reason to believe that the report is erroneous. The commission may require operators involved in accidents to file supplemental reports of accidents upon forms furnished by it when in the opinion of the commission, the original report is insufficient. The reports shall be without prejudice, shall be for the information of the commission, and shall not be open to public inspection. The fact that the reports have been so made shall be admissible in evidence solely to prove a compliance with this section, but no report or any part thereof or statement contained therein shall be admissible in evidence for any other purpose in any proceeding or action arising out of the accident.
Whenever the driver of a vehicle is physically incapable of giving immediate notice or making a written report of an accident as required in this section and there was another occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident capable of giving notice or making a report, such occupant shall make or cause to be made said notice or report not made by the driver.
Whenever the driver is physically incapable of making a written report of an accident as required by this section and such driver is not the owner of the vehicle, then the owner of the vehicle involved in such accident shall make such report not made by the driver.
In those cases where a driver knowingly violates the provisions of this section by failing to make a written report of an accident, there shall be a permissive inference that the registered owner of the vehicle which was involved in that accident was the person involved in the accident; provided, however, if that vehicle is owned by a rental car company or is a leased vehicle, there shall be a permissive inference that the renter or authorized driver pursuant to a rental car contract or the lessee, and not the owner of the vehicle, was the person involved in the accident, and the requirements and penalties imposed pursuant to this section shall be applicable to that renter or authorized driver or lessee and not the owner of the vehicle.
Any person who suppresses, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of a violation of this section or who suppresses the identity of the violator shall be subject to a fine of not less than $250 or more than $1,000.
A written report of an accident shall not be required by this section if a law enforcement officer submits a written report of the accident to the commission pursuant to R.S.39:4-131.
Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who knowingly violates this section shall be fined not less than $30 or more than $100.
The chief administrator may revoke or suspend the operator’s license privilege and registration privilege of a person who violates this section.
For purposes of this section, it shall not be a defense that the operator of the motor vehicle was unaware of the existence or extent of personal injury or property damage caused by the accident as long as the operator was aware that he was involved in an accident.
Amended 1951, c.23, s.72; 1953, c.187; 1967, c.189, s.2; 1983, c.193, s.1; 1994, c.183, s.2; 2007, c.266, s.2.
Summary of the Failure to Report a Car Accident Charge
A motor vehicle accident in which death or injury to people or property exceeding $500 was involved must be documented within ten days of such accident, as well as reported to the local police as quickly as possible. If not reported, it is in violation of the motor vehicle offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-130. Documenting such incident must be detailed and comprehensive, including information such as the cause of the accident, persons and vehicles involved, as well as conditions existing at the time of the accident. If, in fact, the driver is not able of providing such a report, the occupant (if applicable) shall make the necessary information available. The lawyers of Villani & DeLuca want to hear from you if you have been involved in a car accident and charged with the failure to report it. Please call 732-965-3350 for a free consultation.
What the State Needs to Prove the Failure to Report an Accident
If you were involved in a car accident in which you were the driver of the vehicle, it is your obligation to stop and report the details of the automobile accident to police as quickly as possible. within ten days of the accident. If the driver is unable to provide a report and there was another occupant in the vehicle, the occupant will be required to make the report.
Possible Defense for Failure to Report an Accident
If the police officer submits the report, you are not in violation of this order. Were you, the driver, unable at the time of the accident, to report the incident? Were there other factors involved not enabling you to report the accident? If either is true, you may be able to defend your charge with the help of a lawyer.
It is important to note that, if you are aware of the accident but do not know the extent of injury or personal damage, you are still obligated by law to report it. Also, as stated in this statute, if you are unable to report the accident, but there was another occupant in the vehicle at the time who is capable of reporting it, they could be liable if the accident was not properly reported. Each incident like this is unique, so it is important to speak with a lawyer about your situation to find out how to best proceed.
What are the Penalties if Found Guilty of Not Reporting a Car Accident
Failure to report a car accident is a serious violation. A person who knowingly violates this law can be fined between $30 and $100. There are additional fines if a defendant destroys any evidence of an accident or suppresses the identity of someone in violation of this statute, the penalty increases to a fine of $250 to $1,000. Furthermore, authorities may revoke or suspend your driving privileges if you are found guilty of violating this section.
If you or someone you know failed to report a car accident and were charged under this statute, you should seek representation by lawyers who will listen and respond to your situation. Villani & DeLuca lawyers have over twenty years of experience and want to help you. Please call 732-965-3350 today for your free consultation.
AKA: NJ Criminal Charge 39:4-130, Violation 39:4-130, Offense 39:4-130
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.