NJ Leaving Scene Accident can be either a traffic offense or a criminal charge.
Everything depends on whether someone was injured in the accident.
For example, if you got into a minor fender-bender and drove away (for whatever reason), then you’re probably facing a traffic violation under N.J.S.A. 39:4 -129.
Now, if you were involved in leaving NJ Leaving Scene Accident because you drove off after realizing that someone suffered serious bodily injury, then you’re facing a 3rd-degree felony.
We’ve broken it down for you here but if you want the complete law, you can find it at the bottom of this page.
NJ Leaving Scene Accident basics – If there is serious bodily injury, a person leaving the scene of an accident could be charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.1, “Knowingly leaving the scene of motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury”.
“Serious Bodily Injury” is defined as a bodily injury which:
Jail is a strong possibility.
In New Jersey, third-degree felonies have what is called a “Presumption of Non-Incarceration.”
This means that if convicted, the judge does not consider prison time as the first alternative for sentencing.
The judge will consider other alternatives like probation.
However, the presumption of non-imprisonment does not apply under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.1.
If you are convicted of leaving the scene after causing someone serious injury you be sentenced to prison.
It does not matter that you do not have a prior criminal record.
Can I be charged with NJ Leaving Scene Accident and assault by auto?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
The law says that being charged with one crime does not prevent being charged with the other crime.
Being sentenced on one charge does not prevent being sentenced on the other charge.
For example, you cannot say “The only reason I left the scene of the accident was because I was unaware that someone got hurt. If I had known this, I would’ve stayed at the scene.”
The law in NJ states that if you are involved in a car accident, you must stop your vehicle and call the police or 911.
This means that you have to wait for the police to arrive.
In New Jersey, knowingly leaving accident scene resulting in serious bodily injury is a third-degree crime.
As a third-degree crime, the state has five years to file a complaint against the driver who left the scene.
The time limit to file a complaint is called a “statute of limitations.”
An officer who responds to the scene of an accident will look at many details to determine who caused the accident and who left the scene.
Most times drivers who flee the scene are ultimately identified.
As part of their investigation, detectives look at:
Knowingly leaving the scene of motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury, third-degree crime.
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.
The presumption of non-imprisonment outlined in N.J.S.2C:44-1 shall not apply to persons convicted under the provisions of this section.
If the evidence so warrants, nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude an indictment and conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:12-1.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:12-1 and a separate sentence shall be imposed upon each conviction.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:44-5 or any other provisions of law, whenever in the case of such multiple convictions the court imposes multiple sentences of imprisonment for more than one offense, those sentences shall run consecutively.
For this section, neither knowledge of the serious bodily injury nor knowledge of the violation are elements of the offense and it shall not be a defense that the driver of the motor vehicle was unaware of the serious bodily injury or provisions of R.S.39:4-129.
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