NJ Leaving the Scene of an Accident Defense Lawyer

Leaving the scene of an accident is governed by N.J.S.A. 39:4-129, reproduced in full below.  Every motorist has the obligation to stop and provide / exchange insurance and other information the event of an accident.  Leaving the scene of an accident is one of the few charges, which regularly result in a suspended driver’s license.


What are the Penalties?

When there is no personal injury, the penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in NJ are:

  • $200 - $400 Fine + Court Costs;
  • 2 Motor Vehicle Points;
  • 6 Month Driver’s License Suspension;
  • Possible 30 Day Jail Time;
  • Insurance Premium Increases.

For a second or subsequent offense, the penalties are:

  • $400 - $600 Fine + Court Costs;
  • 2 Motor Vehicle Points;
  • 1 Year Driver’s License Suspension;
  • Possible 90 Day Jail Time;
  • Insurance Premium Increases.

When there are personal injuries from the accident, the penalties are:

  • $2,500 - $5,000 Fine + Court Costs;
  • 8 Motor Vehicle Points;
  • 1 Year Driver’s License Suspension;
  • Possible 6 Month Jail Time;
  • Insurance Premium Increases.

For a second or subsequent leaving the scene of an accident charge, when there are personal injuries, the penalties are:

  • $2,500 - $5,000 Fine + Court Costs;
  • 8 Motor Vehicle Points;
  • Permanent (Life long) Driver’s License Suspension;
  • Possible 6 Month Jail Time;
  • Insurance Premium Increases.

*For the full statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-129, please see the bottom of this page.


How can a Lawyer Help?

There are many things an experienced NJ Leaving the Scene of an Accident Defense Attorney can do to help.  Our first goal is to completely defeat the charges and find any defenses.  Every case is unique, and hundreds of possible defenses may arise.  

Other times it is best to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor.  An experienced traffic ticket defense attorney stands a far better chance of coming away with a beneficial arrangement than a regular citizen.  The benefits of this may include, no or diminished points, reduced fines, saving a defendent’s license when it would otherwise be suspended, and avoiding a jail sentence.

For a free consultation, please see our contact page, or call a NJ Traffic Defense Attorney today at 201-943-2445.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What should you do if in an accident?

Under the statute, we are all required to:

Stop, pull over as soon as is safe, and exchange information with the owner of the other vehicle.  Make a police report if they are unavailable.  If you cannot find the owner of the other vehicle, you must make a report.

If there were personal injuries, you must render assistance to the injured.

I didn’t know I was in an accident, what happens?

It is presumed that you knew you were involved in an accident, if the damage is in excess of $250.  Because of this low threshhold, which can include anything from a minor scratch to a head on collision, it is presumed that a defendant knew about it.  We are often able to argue that despite the presumption of knowledge, it was impossible for a client to actually be aware of the accident.  In appropriate cases, this means that the charges are dismissed.  Call today to speak with one of our NJ Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyers.

I have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), how does a NJ Leaving the Scene tickets affect me?

As a CDL driver, it is important to note that even certain driving offenses committed while driving your personal vehicle, can affect your commercial driver’s license; this is especially so with Drug and DUI / DWI charges.  

For a fuller listing of penalties related to certain NJ traffic offenses for CDL drivers, see here.

In addition to the above punishments, your employer or insurance carrier may have their own issues if you are convicted for a leaving the scene charge, especially if there were injuries.  Don’t lose your livilihood, if you are a CDL driver and have been given a leaving the scene ticket in NJ, contact our Traffic  Attorneys today.


Below is a copy of New Jersey’s Leaving the Scene of an Accident Statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-129:

(a) The driver of any vehicle, knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene until he has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (c) of this section. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. Any person who shall violate this subsection shall be fined not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, or be imprisoned for a period of 180 days, or both. The term of imprisonment required by this subsection shall be imposed only if the accident resulted in death or injury to a person other than the driver convicted of violating this section.

In addition, any person convicted under this subsection shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of one year from the date of his conviction for the first offense and for a subsequent offense shall thereafter permanently forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State.

(b) The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle, including his own vehicle, or other property which is attended by any person shall immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible, but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of such accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (c) of this section. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. Any person who shall violate this subsection shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $400, or be imprisoned for a period of not more than 30 days, or both, for the first offense, and for a subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than $400 nor more than $600, or be imprisoned for a period of not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days or both.

In addition, a person who violates this subsection shall, for a first offense, forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle in this State for a period of six months from the date of conviction, and for a period of one year from the date of conviction for any subsequent offense.

(c) The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person or damage to any vehicle or property shall give his name and address and exhibit his operator's license and registration certificate of his vehicle to the person injured or whose vehicle or property was damaged and to any police officer or witness of the accident, and to the driver or occupants of the vehicle collided with and render to a person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying of that person to a hospital or a physician for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that the treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.

In the event that none of the persons specified are in condition to receive the information to which they otherwise would be entitled under this subsection, and no police officer is present, the driver of any vehicle involved in such accident after fulfilling all other requirements of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, insofar as possible on his part to be performed, shall forthwith report such accident to the nearest office of the local police department or of the county police of the county or of the State Police and submit thereto the information specified in this subsection.

(d) The driver of any vehicle which knowingly collides with or is knowingly involved in an accident with any vehicle or other property which is unattended resulting in any damage to such vehicle or other property shall immediately stop and shall then and there locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle or other property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or other property or, in the event an unattended vehicle is struck and the driver or owner thereof cannot be immediately located, shall attach securely in a conspicuous place in or on such vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle doing the striking or, in the event other property is struck and the owner thereof cannot be immediately located, shall notify the nearest office of the local police department or of the county police of the county or of the State Police and in addition shall notify the owner of the property as soon as the owner can be identified and located. Any person who violates this subsection shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(e) There shall be a permissive inference that the driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person or damage in the amount of $250.00 or more to any vehicle or property has knowledge that he was involved in such accident.

For purposes of this section, it shall not be a defense that the operator of the motor vehicle was unaware of the existence or extent of personal injury or property damage caused by the accident as long as the operator was aware that he was involved in an accident.

There shall be a permissive inference that the registered owner of the vehicle which was involved in an accident subject to the provisions of this section was the person involved in the accident; provided, however, if that vehicle is owned by a rental car company or is a leased vehicle, there shall be a permissive inference that the renter or authorized driver pursuant to a rental car contract or the lessee, and not the owner of the vehicle, was involved in the accident, and the requirements and penalties imposed pursuant to this section shall be applicable to that renter or authorized driver or lessee and not the owner of the vehicle.

Any person who suppresses, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of a violation of this section or who suppresses the identity of the violator shall be subject to a fine of not less than $250 or more than $1,000.

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