Leaving the scene of an accident in New Jersey can be a motor vehicle violation as well as a criminal charge depending on the nature and extent of any injury to another party. The criminal charge governing this conduct is N.J.S. 2C:12-1.1 which provides in pertinent part:
§ 2C:12-1.1. Knowingly leaving scene of motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury, third degree crime
A motor vehicle operator who knows he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident under circumstances that violate the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person. The presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 shall not apply to persons convicted under the provisions of this section.
If the evidence so warrants, nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude an indictment and conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 and a separate sentence shall be imposed upon each conviction.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:44-5 or any other provisions of law, whenever in the case of such multiple convictions the court imposes multiple sentences of imprisonment for more than one offense, those sentences shall run consecutively.
For the purposes of this section, neither knowledge of the serious bodily injury nor knowledge of the violation are elements of the offense and it shall not be a defense that the driver of the motor vehicle was unaware of the serious bodily injury or provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129.
According to the above statute, knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident which results in serious bodily injury to another person is a third degree crime in New Jersey which includes between three (3) and five (5) years in state prison if convicted. Further, there is not normally a presumption of incarceration on third degree offenses. However, in this case there is a presumption of imprisonment on this third degree offense. Therefore, even if you have no prior criminal record and you are convicted of this charge, you are facing a state prison sentence. Moreover, you may also be charged with aggravated assault or assault by auto in addition to the leaving the scene of an accident charge.