Though the idea of avoiding consequences is enticing, it always leads to compounding complications further down the road. This couldn’t be better exemplified than in the case of a car accident. Because car accidents can often result in high out-of-pocket payments and soaring insurance premiums, the temptation to flee the scene is especially powerful, reinforced by an army of rationalizations. After all, it was only a fender bender, nobody will ever notice the tiny dent from the grocery store parking lot, and that startling bump was definitely just a piece of debris. It’ll be fine, right? Wrong. Fleeing the scene of a car accident, no matter how seemingly benign, and regardless of fault, is always a bad idea. In this post, we’ll go over why you should never hit and run.
Leaving The Scene As A Traffic Offense
Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-129, the court holds that anyone involved in an accident resulting in damages over $250 is presumed to know about the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident under the circumstances of property damage is a traffic offense, and can have severe repercussions. The penalties for a first offense are a 6 month license revocation, a fine between $200-$400, and up to 30 days in prison. Subsequent offenses are punished by the same 6 month license revocation, but with fines between $400-$600 and at least 30 days in prison, ranging up to a maximum of 90 days.
Why You Should Never Hit And Run: Leaving The Scene As A Criminal Offense
Though the punishments for fleeing as a traffic offense are serious enough, things become far more drastic if the accident results in serious bodily injury or death. Serious bodily injury is described as “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Under NJS 2C:12-1.1, leaving an accident resulting in serious bodily injury is a crime of the 3rd degree, and can lead to a sentence of 3-5 years in prison.
Similarly but more severely, under NJS 2C:11-5.1, leaving an accident that results in death is a crime of the 2nd degree, and is punishable by 5-10 years in prison.
Mark Catanzaro Is Here To Help!
If you’re facing charges for a hit and run accident, whether as a traffic offense or something far more serious, it’s imperative that you seek legal help. Mark Catanzaro is well versed in the subtleties of New Jersey law, and can bring you the excellent defense you need. Until then, if you find yourself in a tricky traffic situation and you’re tempted to bolt, always take the high road; the path of least resistance can all too easily become the road to ruin.