Like most states, leaving the scene of the accident in NJ can be a big deal. You may decide to take off because you were drinking and driving. Of course, there’s always the chance you were involved in a hit and run because you panicked. Whatever the reason, you may find yourself in court trying to excuse your actions.
For starters, the law regarding driver responsibilities at the time of an accident is found at NJSA 39:4-129. Here, you will see there are different distinctions between what you are expected to do if you are involved in an automobile accident. You can encounter the most severe penalties for knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that involved injury or death. Notwithstanding, you may wonder how serious it is to wait until the police come to the scene.
Why So Severe?
The inclination to leave the scene of an accident is not exactly unique. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 11% of police-reported accidents involve a driver who did not stay at the scene. Nationally, almost two thousand people die annually as a result of a hit and run accident.
When you consider the potential gravity of the situation, it’s little wonder that New Jersey’s courts take this offense so seriously. Leaving the scene of an accident very often means leaving the victim of a motor vehicle crash for dead or, at the very least, seriously injured. This is why a first offense is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a one-year suspension of your license.
Meanwhile, the judge may look differently at your actions if there was only property damage. Your attorney can explain the consequences of your actions or failure to at least exchange information with the other driver. It’s critical you understand your responsibilities under this law.
What You Need to Do
If you have been involved in an hit and run accident, you should immediately speak with experienced legal counsel. You should not wait for the police to investigate the crash and come to deliver a traffic citation. In many cases, this can make the situation far worse.
In today’s age of technology, there are many ways to ascertain the license plates of vehicles that have left the scene of the accident. If you panicked and took off speak with your lawyer to determine the right way of handling the situations. Without a doubt, if the accident included injuries or death, much attention will be brought to your apprehension.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Legal Counsel
The attorneys at Beninato & Matrafajlo are ready to help you combat your hit and run charge so you can move on with your life. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and to determine your best course of action.