Our criminal defense law firm represents individuals arrested and charged with crimes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Frequently, our firm defends individuals who are involved in criminal matters following a car accident. It is important to understand that Pennsylvania and New Jersey both maintain very strict laws with regards to these incidents. Here are the most common crimes associated with these incidents in New Jersey and the possible criminal penalties associated with them
- Assault by Auto in New Jersey
A typical charge that our law firm encounters in New Jersey are assault by vehicle auto (2C:12-1(c)(1)). If a person is charged with such a crime in New Jersey, he or she is guilty of it when he or she drives a vehicle recklessly and causes either serious bodily injury or bodily injury to another.
It is a crime of the fourth degree if serious bodily injury results and a disorderly person’s offense if just bodily injury results. Keep in mind that if the individual charged was operating a smart phone or cellphone at the time of the incident (39:4-97.3) it may give rise to inference that the Defendant was acting recklessly at the time of the incident.
Assault by vehicle is a crime of the third degree if at the time of the incident the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol (39:4-50) and serious bodily injury occurs as a result. It is a crime of the fourth degree if only bodily injury results.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Criminal Charges
Another charge that our firm handles is knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death. It is a crime of the third degree if a person knowingly leaves an accident which results in serious bodily injury to another. While a crime of the third degree normally carries with it a presumption on non-incarceration in New Jersey, that presumption does not apply in these situations (2C:12-1.1) It is a crime of the second degree to knowingly leave an accident if such accident results in a person’s death under 2C:11-5.1. In addition, the prosecution may still charge the individual with aggravated manslaughter or reckless vehicular homicide.
- Vehicular Homicide
When a person is killed, as a result of an accident, the charge would become much more serious in New Jersey under 2C:11-5-Death by Auto. Criminal homicide constitutes reckless vehicular homicide when it is caused by driving a vehicle recklessly. Proof that a person was operating a cellphone provides an inference of recklessness as well as proof that the persons under the influence (39:4-50) is also proof of recklessness. If a person is convicted of death by auto while DUI in New Jersey, it carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of at least three (3) years of State incarceration or between one-third or one-half of the sentence imposed, whichever is greater.
- Vehicular Manslaughter
Manslaughter in New Jersey under 2C:11-4 is considered aggravated manslaughter when a person acts recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference of the value of human life or where a person causes the death of another while fleeing or attempting to flee law enforcement. In all other the cases, criminal homicide constitutes manslaughter only when it is committed recklessly or where is it committed in the heat of passion resulting from reasonable provocation (imperfect self-defense; deadly force without justification). Aggravated manslaughter is a crime of the first degree in New Jersey while manslaughter is a crime of the second degree in New Jersey.
It is also important to understand that manslaughter charges in New Jersey (aggravated assault including) are considered no early release crimes in the Garden State (NERA). This means that a person who is convicted of such crimes will be sentenced to serve 85% of the term imposed before being eligible for parole.