Penalties for a Drunk Driver Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident

Car keys, a shot of liquor and handcuffs on a table

Driving a motor vehicle that is involved in a collision and then fleeing the scene, otherwise known as a “hit-and-run” accident, is an extremely serious matter in the state of New Jersey. The penalties for being involved in a hit-and-run become even more serious in cases where the driver was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If you or someone you know is involved in this situation, it is important to contact an experienced defense attorney that can help you defend against these serious charges.

People flee the scene of an accident for many reasons. Sometimes it is because they are scared and panic, or because they did not have their license or insurance information. Sometimes it may be because they have a warrant out for their arrest, are concerned because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or may have illegal substances inside their vehicle. No matter the reason, fleeing the scene is never justified. In New Jersey, you are required to stop after an accident.

Whether someone was hurt or not, you must stop and wait for officials to come and make a report of the accident. If someone is hurt, you should help by calling 911 and waiting for assistance from an ambulance or emergency response team. The law requires you provide what is called “reasonable assistance.”

If you fail to do so and leave the scene, you can be criminally charged for the hit-and-run. The charges you can face and potential penalties under the law depend on the circumstances of the accident. The more serious the accident, the more serious your charges will be. Under the guidelines provided for in New Jersey Statutes Annotated 39:4-129, someone convicted of hit-and-run can face the following potential penalties:

If the accident resulted in injury or death to another person:

  • a fine between $2,500 and $5,000;
  • up to 180 days in jail;
  • the revocation of a driver’s license for up to one year, if it is the driver’s first hit-and-run offense.
  • If the accident caused only vehicle damage, you could face:

    • up to 30 days in jail;
    • six-month driver’s license suspension;
    • fines reaching up to $400.

    It is important to note that this law applies even if the vehicle was unattended or unoccupied. These charges would come in addition to any other charges that might apply, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or for speeding or reckless drive.

    Additionally, if you are a subsequent offender, you will be more likely to lose your driver’s license permanently. Finally, besides facing criminal charges and penalties, a hit-and-run conviction can also increase your insurance rates or potentially cause you to lose your car insurance altogether. All of this, in addition to other penalties you can face for driving while intoxicated, can be overwhelming. There are defenses to these charges. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, you should consider getting an experienced drunk driving attorney to help you understand your rights and present the best defense possible.

    New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Drivers Facing DUI and Hit-and-Run Charges

    A New Jersey DUI / DWI charge, especially one involving a hit and run incident, can have severe penalties and it is important to understand those penalties and how to best defend against them. If you are charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence in New Jersey, knowing what your rights are can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.

    We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.