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Hit and Run or Leaving the Scene of a Traffic Accident — What are the Consequences in New Jersey?

In August of 2014, Samuel Tarrant, a pedestrian who was walking on Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah, was struck and killed by Thomas Moylan who was behind the wheel of a 1997 Lincoln Town Car. Moylan was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving without a license.

Leaving the scene of an accident where property damage has occurred is a serious crime. If there was bodily injury or death, the consequences are understandably more severe.

If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, it is vital that you retain the services of a criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights.

What should you do in case of an accident where there is bodily injury, property damage or death?

If you have been involved in an accident, it is your duty to stop your vehicle at the scene in such a way that your vehicle does not obstruct traffic. You must give your name and address, show your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance to the person whose vehicle was damaged or to the police if there is an officer on the scene. If there are any injuries, you should do whatever is reasonable to assist the injured, including getting them to the hospital if that is required or requested by the injured person.

If a driver gets into a collision with a parked car that is unoccupied, or if the persons in the accident are not in any condition to receive your information, you should go to the nearest police station and report the accident.

What are the consequences for leaving the scene of an accident?

The penalties for a hit and run accident that resulted only in property damage include fines between $200 and $400, a jail sentence of no more than 30 days, and a Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) assessment of two points for the first offense.

Knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in bodily injury or death is a crime in the fourth degree. It carries the penalty of a fine between $500 and $1000, up to 180 days in jail, and a one year license suspension. The driver will also be assessed 8 points by the MVC and be subject to a MVC surcharge.

In Moylan’s case, he most likely left the scene of the accident because he knew that he was driving without a license. However, it is far better to remain on the scene and get a ticket for driving without a license than to face the severe penalties for a hit and run.

If you’ve been charged with leaving the scene of an accident or another traffic-related offense, the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman takes your charges seriously. Mr. Glassman’s extensive experience helps ensure a positive outcome. For immediate help, call us at 215-563-7100 or contact us online.