Leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious offense. The charge of leaving the scene of an accident when there is a personal injury is a crime of the fourth degree. A driver convicted of this offense faces significant collateral consequences. A driver will be assessed 8 points by the MVC. Moreover, a driver’s will be assessed several insurance eligibility points.
A driver convicted for the first time of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident that results in property damage is subject to a fine of $202-$402, and up to 30 days in jail. A driver will be assessed two points by the MVC. An advisable strategy to prevail on this charge is to make arrangements with the person whom you had the accident with, and to also pay for their damage to their vehicle. Quite often, the municipal court prosecutor will downgrade this charge if the victim’s damage to their vehicle has been paid for.
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident that results in a personal injury are much more severe than the penalties are for leaving the scene of an accident that involve only property damage. The first offense of leaving the scene of an accident that involves personal injury subjects a driver to a $502-$1,002 fine and/or a 180-day jail sentence. The fines will be doubled if the offense occurs in either a construction zone, or a 65 mph speed zone. The driver’s license will also be suspended for one year.
A driver will also have collateral consequences. A driver will be assessed 8 points by MVC. The driver will also receive a MVC surcharge, and an administrative loss of license by the MVC.
A lawyer whose client is charged with leaving the scene of the accident may try to obtain a plea bargain. If the driver is charged with leaving the scene of the accident that involves property damage, a competent lawyer may try to have the charge downgraded to failure to report an accident. The charge of failing to report an accident is a lesser-included offense of leaving the scene of an accident, and the penalties are much less severe, and it is a no-point violation.