Did You Leave The Scene Of An Accident?
In New Jersey, leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious offense. If convicted, this may result in the loss of your driver’s license forever, affecting your ability to work and care for your family. If you were a driver involved in one of these accidents and knowingly drove away, you could be facing years in prison.
My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, and I am a Union County traffic attorney with over 35 years of criminal trial experience. I understand what it’s like to flee a scene in a moment of panic. Contact me at 908-643-6801 for a free initial consultation and we can discuss the circumstances of your case.
Is Leaving The Scene Of An Accident A Traffic Violation Or Criminal Offense?
In New Jersey, there are two different offenses related to leaving the scene of an accident. The first is a traffic violation which carries relatively light penalties, but the second is a criminal offense which carries severe penalties.
In less serious situations where nobody is seriously injured, there is only minor damage, or you drive away without knowing it was illegal to do so, you may only be charged with a traffic violation.
If you knowingly leave the scene of the accident, especially when someone dies or is seriously injured, you could be facing serious criminal charges in addition to a traffic violation.
Penalties For Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In New Jersey
Penalties for leaving the scene of the accident differ depending on the whether someone was injured in the accident or if there is just physical damage to the vehicles involved.
Traffic penalties when there is only vehicle damage:
- $200-$400 in fines
- Up to 30 days in jail
- 6-month license suspension
- $400-$600 in fines
- 30 to 90 days in jail
- One year license suspension
Traffic penalties when someone is injured:
- $2,500 to $5,000 in fines
- Jail for 180 days
- License suspension for one year for first offense
- You never get your license back
Criminal penalties when someone is seriously injured:
- Up to $15,000 in fines
- 3 to 5 years in prison
Criminal penalties when someone died in the accident:
- Up to $150,000 in fines
- 5 to 10 years in prison
It is important to note that drivers may be facing both criminal penalties and traffic penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, depending on the circumstances of their case. Criminal charges could also be combined with others, such as aggravated assault or assault by auto. Someone convicted of several crimes could face even more serious penalties.
Don’t Let A Split-Second Decision Ruin Your Life
Despite the severity of the penalties associated with leaving the scene of an accident, the prosecution must still overcome many hurdles before obtaining a conviction.
As an experienced New Jersey defense lawyer, not only do I know what the prosecution needs to win, but I also know the local prosecutors. Each local official has their own set of practices and expectations, and my genuine insight collected from years of lawyering in New Jersey gives my clients an edge that only an experienced local attorney can provide.