According to New Jersey law, any time there is a car accident with a pedestrian or another driver, you have some responsibilities. One of those responsibilities involves stopping at the scene or as close to it as possible. You are also supposed to:
- Identify yourself
- Helped the injured
- Show your registration and operator’s license (to the injured person and/or police officer)
- File a police report
If you or a loved one is involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may face tough penalties if you leave the scene. Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith is committed to helping you or a loved one charged with a hit-and-run accident.
Proving a Hit-and-Run Case
The state has the responsibility of proving that you are guilty of the hit-and-run accident. A hit-and-run criminal charge differs from the motor vehicle violation of leaving the scene of an accident. With the motor vehicle violation, the state must only prove that an injury occurred. However, a hit-and-run criminal charge requires the state to prove serious bodily injury occurred. Serious bodily injury refers to disfigurement, impairment or protracted loss.
Besides, serious bodily injury, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- You were involved in the accident (you drove the vehicle)
- You knowingly left the crime site
A hit-and-run criminal charge limits your number of defenses. When you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident, you can claim that you did not have knowledge of the injury or law. However, the prosecution does not have to prove you had knowledge of the person’s injury. You still have legal defenses available for you to present at trial.
Selecting the right defense requires the help of a skilled hit-and-run lawyer. Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith will look over your case and identify the state’s weaknesses in proving its case. We will also present a strong defense on your behalf.
Possible Penalties for Hit-and-Run Accident in NJ
A hit-and-run charge is a fourth degree crime. The exact penalties you will face are complicated. New Jersey has changed the penalties for the conviction of a hit-and-run charge. You can be put in jail if found guilty, but the exact length of time of your incarceration depends on many factors. Some of these include whether or not you are also cited for leaving the scene of an accident. This carries up to 180 days in jail and suspension of your license for one year for a first offense.
However, you can be charged with other crimes such as aggravated assault or assault by auto. An assault by auto carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
Regardless of the type of charges you face in addition to the hit-and-run accident, you need the help of an hit and run lawyer. Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith will be with you every step to defend you in your hit-and-run case.