What are the consequences to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident and not reporting it?

I recently got into a car accident where I was given 4 tickets – the obvious and deserved careless driving, followed by leaving the scene, not reporting, and no seat belt. In the accident, I dozed and hit a street sign, while grazing a telephone pole, and was then on the curb feet in front of the pole on a main road. I choose to drive the car off the main road an onto the closest side street and pulled over. I noticed the police coming as I exited my vehicle to evaluate my damage. How should I proceed and what am I looking at? Do I need an public defender or attorney? In Ocean City, NJ.

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You absolutely should talk to a lawyer about this matter. If you were truly trying to park somewhere safe, you might be able to get out of the ticket for leaving the scene and depending on whether or not you were driving it somewhere safe when the police officer saw you had no seatbelt on, you might be able to get that one taken care of, as well.  What will remain is the careless driving and of course, you might be able to get out of the not reporting if you were intending on reporting as soon as you parked. Talk to a lawyer because it sounds like you had an overzealous officer or newly hired officer.

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