South Jersey Lawyers for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Reputable Criminal Defense Lawyer Advocates for Clients Accused of Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Camden County, Burlington County and Throughout New Jersey
New Jersey drivers have a legal obligation to stop when involved in a motor vehicle accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is both a traffic violation and can also be punished as a criminal offense—especially if someone was injured in the crash. Although car accidents can be overwhelming for a number of reasons, you should always stop to exchange information and make sure everyone is unharmed.
At Gelman Law, LLC, we understand that you may have been facing a variety of conflicted emotions when faced with a traffic accident. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers have successfully helped many clients who have found themselves in positions similar to yours. Our team is led by a former Burlington County prosecutor who knows exactly what is at stake if you are convicted for leaving the scene of an accident in South Jersey—and we also know how to build the strongest possible defense to protect your rights.
Whether you were concerned about immigration issues, driving with a suspended license or were simply panicked after the accident, hit and run offenses in South Jersey can be serious. Speaking with a criminal defense lawyer experienced in handling hit and run cases is crucial to minimize the consequences of leaving the scene of an accident.
Call our office or fill out this online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced South Jersey defense lawyers today. You can tell us what happened so that we can discuss defense options if you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in South Jersey Vary Depending Upon Damage
Whether leaving the scene of an accident in South Jersey will be punished as a criminal offense will depend upon whether anyone was injured or killed in the accident. If someone was injured or killed, the driver may face both penalties for the traffic violation and criminal offense.
First offense penalties for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death include:
- Up to 180 days in jail for the traffic violation,
- Between three and five years in jail (the criminal violation is a third-degree felony crime),
- Mandatory driver’s license suspension for one year,
- Fines of between $2,500 and $5,000 for the traffic offense and up to $15,000 for the criminal offense,
- 8 points on your driving record, which will automatically trigger the New Jersey surcharge that will apply annually for three years ($150 per year plus an extra $25 annually for every point over 6 on your record).
The system for punishing leaving the scene of an accident in New Jersey requires special attention because, even if the prosecution cannot prove that you committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, you can still go to jail for 180 days based on a traffic offense.
On the other hand, if the accident only caused property damage, the following penalties apply:
- Up to 30 days in jail,
- Mandatory license suspension for up to 30 days,
- Fines of between $200 and $400 for a first offense, and $400 and $600 for a second offense,
- 2 points on your driving record, which can trigger additional surcharges and even a lengthy license suspension if you exceed 6 or 12 points.
Conviction for leaving the scene of an accident will also have a significant impact on your car insurance rates, which are based partially upon your driving record. In fact, conviction may cause your premium to increase by upwards of 80%.
Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Help Clients Build Compelling Defense to Charges of Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Camden County, NJ
At Gelman Law, LLC, our seasoned defense lawyers can help you defend the charges of leaving the scene of an accident in South Jersey. Possible defenses may include:
- You actually did stop and the other driver refused to accept your information (for example, because the other driver may want to avoid reporting the accident for whatever reason),
- Road or traffic conditions made it impossible or very dangerous to stop near the accident scene (although, for this defense to work, you must have stopped as nearby as possible and taken steps to give the other driver your information),
- Attempting to negotiate the charge down to a much lesser offense (although accepting a guilty plea may open the window to potential civil liability at a later date).
To learn more about potential defense options in your specific case, call our South Jersey hit and run defense lawyers today.
Schedule a Confidential Case Review with Our Trusted Burlington County, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Facing punishment for a hit and run can be overwhelming—especially in cases where someone was hurt. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side provides the best chance of reaching a favorable outcome. At Gelman Law, LLC, our skilled defense lawyers can help whether you have been charged with a traffic violation, criminal offense or both. To speak with our team today, call our office or fill out this online contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Camden County
Yes. A hit and run is a serious offense even if you only caused damage to property. If you hit a pedestrian or bicyclist in South Jersey, the penalties can be even more serious for leaving the scene of an accident because injuries or even death are possible. If you hit a piece of property, you should attempt to contact the owner if no one is present and leave a note with your contact information if you are unable to find the property owner. This is also true if you hit a parked car.
The traffic offense and criminal offense are actually slightly different charges. The traffic offense can stick simply based on the fact that you knew you were in an accident and failed to stop. Criminal charges have a higher burden of proof that requires the prosecution to show that you also knew it was illegal not to stop.