Leaving the Scene in New Jersey

A misfortunate utility pole met its demise when a man backed into it in Cumberland County. To make matters worse, the driver left the scene of the accident, effectively making it a hit-and-run although no human was hurt. The reason he fled the scene? He was avoiding getting yelled at by his girlfriend who was in the car with him. Now the police are the one giving him a hard time when he was charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident when he eventually reported the accident.

Leaving the scene of the crime is a crime under New Jersey statute ยง 39, 4-129 no matter what the circumstances. If there is property damage but no injury to persons involved, the driver faces stiff penalties, up to $1,000 in fines for first time offenders, and up to $2,000 for subsequent incidents, and up to 30 days I jail. However, if there had been personal injury involved, this is considered a fourth degree offense, and the driver can be put in prison for as much as 6 months simply for leaving the scene. You can see more about this on a personal injury attorney’s website.

While the case above is a little bit amusing from a sociological perspective, the driver demonstrated a certain lack of backbone in leaving the scene to avoid a scene, and it got him into worse trouble than if he had just stayed and faced the (discordant) music. However, it is not at all amusing to get charged with a crime, and in such cases it is always better to get legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer before saying or doing anything while being interviewed by the police and prior to appearing before a judge. This can lead to a less serious charge and perhaps even a dismissal. The fact that the driver had turned himself in and reported the accident, albeit belatedly, will have a significant impact on the case, especially if he is a first time offender.


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