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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: February 13, 2012
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Accidents are never created on purpose. Most people do not intend to have their vehicles cause damage to another person or thing. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. When they do, there is the understanding that the person at fault will make every attempt to correct any mistake made.

People leave the scene of an accident in New Jersey for many reasons. In most cases, it is because they are avoiding prosecution of another crime. For instance, they may be driving while intoxicated or may have drugs in their possession. In those driver’s minds, it may make sense to ignore an accident in order to prevent further prosecution.

For most accidents, drivers exchange information and let the insurance companies sort out the rest. When a driver does not do this, it is considered a hit and run. This means that a driver who is guilty of leaving the scene of an accident in NJ will face serious consequences under N.J.S. 39:4-129.

In New Jersey, leaving the scene of an accident is a punishable offense. Drivers are required to stop immediately after they are involved in an accident and notify police officials if one is not on the scene. Drivers are also required to exchange information with other drivers involved. This includes basic contact information, driver’s license information, insurance information and vehicle registration information. They are also expected to provide assistance to victims in the form of transportation or assistance securing transportation for the treatment of injuries.

If the accident involves a vehicle only, or property, drivers are still required to provide that information to the owner. If they cannot do so, they should report the accident to a local police department.

The penalties for not following these guidelines under N.J.S. 39:4-129 are actually quite severe. For leaving the scene of accidents that resulted in injury or death, the penalties include 180-days in jail, a license suspension of one year and a fine if $2,500-$5000. If the accident caused at least $250 in damage to a vehicle or property only and the driver did not remain to provide all of the required information, he or she will be subject to fines and possible jail time. In New Jersey, these fines range from $200 to $400 for a first offense and $400-$600 for a second offense. The driver could also spend some time in jail. For a first offense it can be up to 30 days. For a second offense it is at least 30 days but no more than 90 days.

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