In New Jersey, leaving the scene of an accident (commonly called a “hit and run”) can result in serious fines and possibly jail time depending on the severity and circumstances surrounding the occurrence. In New Jersey, there are rules that must be adhered to when there is an accident, even if the accident only involves the driver’s vehicle. If there is damage to property, even if that property is something like a traffic light, leaving the scene after the accident is still unlawful.
In the event of an accident in which other people are present, the driver is required to stop immediately and give his or her name to the other driver, a police officer, a witness, or someone injured in the incident. If there aren’t other people present, the least the driver is supposed to do is to leave a note on the property with his or her name and address and go to the nearest police station to report it. In the event that these rules are violated, the individual can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident under statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-129.
Leaving an Accident Causing Injury or Death (N.J.S.A. 39:4-129(a))
New Jersey has penalties for leaving the scene of a car accident that can be significant regardless of the amount of damage that was caused. If a person was injured or even died, the penalties can be massive. For example, the person who left the scene can be fined at least $2,500 and as much as $5,000 and there can also be jail time of six months. The driver will also lose his or her license for one year from the date of conviction. If a second or subsequent conviction is obtained in the future, the defendant will permanently forfeit his or her New Jersey driver’s license.
Leaving an Accident Causing Damage to Vehicle or Property (N.J.S.A. 39:4-129(b))
If the accident resulted in damage to any property or vehicle, including the defendant’s car, punishment for a conviction will be a fine ranging from $200 to $400 and possible jail time for up to three months. Additionally, the defendant will lose his or her driver’s license for six months for their first offense of leaving the scene of an accident. If a second or subsequent conviction is obtained by the same person in the future, the driver’s license suspension will increase to one year.
Additional Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Points are added to the driver’s motor vehicle record if he or she is involved in a hit and run. If there are no personal injuries, two points are added. If there are injuries, eight points are added to the driver’s record.
In the event that no one can be identified as the driver of the vehicle after he or she leaves the scene, responsibility falls to the person who is the registered owner of the vehicle. If the registered owner is deemed to be hiding the identity of the driver, the fines for that act can range from $250 to $1,000.
Contact an Attorney for Defense of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Naturally, it is not wise to leave the scene of an accident whether it’s a fender bender or a severe crash in which people are injured or even killed. Simply because you or a loved one may have made the mistake of leaving the scene and are facing charges, it doesn’t mean that you should be defenseless and facing the New Jersey legal system. This is why you should contact the law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey for legal help.
Leaving the scene of an accident puts the individual in danger of losing his or her driver’s license, facing significant fines and possible jail time. It’s imperative to have experienced and quality legal advice provided by Villani & DeLuca. If you or a loved one have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident anywhere in Ocean County or Monmouth County, New Jersey, contact Villani & DeLuca to discuss your case. Call today!