Freehold NJ Leaving Scene of Accident Resulting in Death Lawyer
Fatal motor vehicle accidents are going to occur, that is just a part of life. More often than not, those incidents will be classified as what they are, accidents and criminal charges will not be filed. However, if one of the parties to accident leaves the scene, they will automatically be charged with leaving the scene of accident resulting in death. Pursuant to NJSA 2C:11-5.1, this is a second degree felony offense and if convicted, a Defendant could be facing up to a decade behind bars. It is important to note here, the only conduct that is required to have occurred before someone can be charged with this offense, is that the individual left the scene of an accident that resulted in a death. It does not have to be alleged that the person was driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or whether the person was driving in a reckless manner.
If you or a loved one has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death, resulting in serious bodily injury, eluding, driving while intoxicated, death by auto, assault by auto or driving under the influence of drugs in Monmouth County, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. These potential consequences can be unforgiving and they effect a lot more than just the individual charged. To speak to one of our Monmouth County criminal lawyers today about your options, then please contact our Middletown office at 732.858.6959 or you can try contacting us online. Our office serves all of Monmouth County, including Howell, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Wall Township, Marlboro, Colts Neck, Middletown, Holmdel, Ocean Township, Freehold and Manalapan. Now here is some important information on leaving the scene of a fatal accident in New Jersey.
Charged with Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident in New Jersey
Leaving the scene of an accident is normally a traffic offense in New Jersey. However, if anyone suffers serious bodily injury or dies as a result of the accident, then the person who left the scene will be charged with a indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. Leaving the scene of a fatal accident is found under Chapter 11 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which is the Criminal Homicide Section. The specific statute is NJSA 2C:11-5.1, which states in pertinent part:
- A motor vehicle operator who knows that he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident . . . shall be guilty of a crime. . . if the accident results in the death of another person.
So, in order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- The Defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
- While operating said vehicle, the Defendant was involved in an accident;
- The Defendant was aware of the fact that they were involved in an accident;
- That the Defendant knowingly left the scene of the accident; &
- Said accident resulted in the death of another.
As touched upon above, the prosecution is not required to prove that the Defendant caused the accident or that they were aware the accident resulted in a fatal. In essence, this offense seeks to simply prosecute those who leave the scene of an accident that results in fatal. To qualify as “leaving the scene”, the prosecution would need to establish that the Defendant failed to do one of the following:
- Immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident; or
- Immediately stop their vehicle as close to the scene of the accident as possible and/or return to the scene; or
- Report the accident to the authorizes in a timely manner.
Is there Jail time for Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident in NJ?
Pursuant to NJSA 2C:11-5.1, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is considered a second degree indictable offense. If convicted, a Defendant would be facing anywhere from five to ten years in prison and a fine up to $150,000. Furthermore, since this is a second degree felony offense, there is a presumption for imprisonment.
Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident in Middletown NJ
People leave the scene of an accident for a variety of different reasons, whether it be to avoid being charged with driving while intoxicated, avoid being caught in possession of something illegal like a controlled dangerous substance or simply out of sheer panic. Regardless of the reason, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death are life changing. If you or a loved one has unfortunately found yourself in this situation, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. To speak to one of our Monmouth County criminal defense lawyers today, then please contact us at 732.858.6959.