Wantage Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyers
Criminal and Traffic Defense Attorneys in Sussex and Warren County, New Jersey
If you are in a car accident in New Jersey and leave the scene, you can be issued a motor vehicle summons or worse, be charged with a crime. Criminal charges and traffic tickets for leaving the scene of an accident will depend on the severity of physical injuries to people involved in the collision and the extent of property damage caused. Often, leaving the scene of an accident charges are accompanied by others for assault by auto, reckless driving, or other offenses. The bottom line is that the New Jersey Traffic Code requires any person involved in a motor vehicle accident to stop at the scene or as nearby as possible to provide identification and registration information. Any violation of that requirement can result in high fines, a license suspension, and potential jail time.
So, if you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Sussex County or Warren County, it is imperative to contact the traffic and criminal defense team at the Tormey Law Firm. Our skilled lawyers have successfully defended clients against leaving the scene of an accident charges in courts in Hopatcong, Wantage, Sparta, Hackettstown, Vernon, and throughout New Jersey. We are dedicated to developing the most effective defense strategies and delivering superior results. If you or someone you love is facing criminal or traffic charges for leaving the scene of an accident in Warren County or Sussex County, contact our offices today at 973-755-1695 to discuss your case and receive a cost-free consultation.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Attorneys in Sparta NJ
Criminal Charges for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in New Jersey
The New Jersey Criminal Code sets forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.1 that 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. Importantly, the presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 for those convicted of third degree crimes does not apply to a criminal conviction of leaving the scene of an accident. And, neither knowledge of the serious bodily injury nor knowledge of the violation are elements of the offense and it is not a defense that the driver of the motor vehicle was unaware of the serious bodily injury or provisions of R.S. 39:4-129(c).
Leaving the Scene of an Accident as an NJ Traffic Violation
According to R.S. 39:4-129(c), the driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person or damage to any vehicle or property shall give his name and address and exhibit his operator’s license and registration certificate of his vehicle to the person injured or whose vehicle or property was damaged and to any police officer or witness of the accident, and to the driver or occupants of the vehicle collided with and render to a person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying of that person to a hospital or a physician for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that the treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.
Pursuant to R.S. 39:4-129 (a) and (b), the driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person or in damage to a vehicle, including his own vehicle, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene until he has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (c) of this section.
Additionally, pursuant to R.S. 39:4-129(d), the driver of any vehicle which knowingly collides with or is knowingly involved in an accident with any vehicle or other property which is unattended resulting in any damage to such vehicle or other property shall immediately stop and shall then and there locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle or other property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or other property or, in the event an unattended vehicle is struck and the driver or owner thereof cannot be immediately located, shall attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on such vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle doing the striking or, in the event other property is struck and the owner thereof cannot be immediately located, shall notify the nearest office of the local police department or of the county police of the county or of the State Police and in addition shall notify the owner of the property as soon as the owner can be identified and located.
The traffic code also establishes inferences that can be used against a defendant who is accused of leaving the scene of an accident. Specifically, R.S. 39:4-129(e) sets forth that there shall be a permissive inference that the driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person or damage in the amount of $250.00 or more to any vehicle or property has knowledge that he was involved in such accident. Additionally, 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. Moreover, there shall be a permissive inference that the registered owner of the vehicle which was involved in an accident subject to the provisions of this section 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 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.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in New Jersey
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in New Jersey are severe. Any person who leaves the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death to any person shall be fined not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, or be imprisoned for a period of 180 days, or both. The term of imprisonment required by this subsection shall be imposed only if the accident resulted in death or injury to a person other than the driver convicted of violating this section. In addition, any person convicted of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death to any person shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of one year from the date of his conviction for the first offense and for a subsequent offense shall thereafter permanently forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State.
Any person who leaves the scene of an accident that causes damage to a vehicle, including his own vehicle shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $400, or be imprisoned for a period of not more than 30 days, or both, for the first offense, and for a subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than $400 nor more than $600, or be imprisoned for a period of not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days or both. In addition, a person who leaves the scene of an accident that causes damage to a vehicle, including his own vehicle shall, for a first offense, forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle in this State for a period of six months from the date of conviction, and for a period of one year from the date of conviction for any subsequent offense.
Contact Phillipsburg Leaving an Accident Lawyers Today
Simply put, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Sussex County and Warren County are severe and can drastically impact your life. If you have been issued a traffic citation or criminal complaint for leaving the scene of an accident, contact the defense team at the Tormey Law Firm to take the first and most important step in defending yourself against the allegation. Simply call 973-755-1695 or submit an online contact form to begin your conversation.