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New Jersey Woman Leaves Scene of Husband’s Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident

She was arrested for leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle collision. She later turned herself in to the local police.

The couple was arguing in the late morning hours near their home. The husband ostensibly jumped on the hood of his wife’s vehicle to stop her from leaving. Shortly thereafter, he fell from the moving motor vehicle and sustained serious injuries.

His wife left the scene without properly notifying authorities about the accident. The man died later that day. The autopsy showed the man’s death was “a direct result of injuries suffered.”

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-129, a party at the scene of a serious car accident is prevented from leaving the scene of the collision. The law requires the individual to remain at the accident scene in which property damages, injury, or death has occurred. It’s essential to provide identifying information to the police at the scene of the collision when injury, at least $500 of property damages, or death occurs. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) must be notified and an accident report should be filed.

Leaving the accident scene is in fact much more serious than N.J.S.A. 39:4-130, Failure to Report an Accident. Violation of this law carries a fine.

When a driver is involved in a vehicle accident in New Jersey, it is legally required to bring the vehicle to a complete stop—as close to the accident scene as possible. It’s also required that the driver identifies himself/herself to any other parties and to the police attending the accident scene. When no other parties are present at the accident scene, the law requires the driver to report the incident to a closest law enforcement officers, including county, municipal, or state law enforcement, or leave a “conspicuous” message including the driver’s name and contact details on the property or vehicle damaged.

Claims that the driver “had no knowledge” of the damage isn’t a valid defense if the driver knew about the accident. If the accident resulted in property damage, injury, or death, the law presumes the driver knows about the accident.

Although the driver may feel a moral responsibility to make sure that other individuals involved are safe and uninjured, it is important to call 911 to ask for emergency medical services. This action saves lives.

Leaving the scene of a vehicle collision in which serious bodily injury or death occurs in a third-degree crime.

Penalties for leaving the scene of a collision accident in which injury or death resulted include a maximum five-year prison sentence plus fines of $2,500 – $5,000. In addition, the driver faces driver’s license suspension for up to 12 months (first offense) or, for subsequent offenses, possible permanent loss of the driver’s license.

If you receive a ticket for any New Jersey traffic violation—whether it’s a “minor” speeding violation of a much more serious DWI charge—you should seek out an experienced traffic violation lawyer in New Jersey to discuss possible legal options. The Law Offices of Stephen R. Piper will answer your questions about how to proceed with a New Jersey traffic violation charge. Contact us now at 856-351-5335.


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