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LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT model jury charge

LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT

RESULTING IN DEATH

(N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1)model jury charge

The indictment charges the defendant with the offense of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in the death of another as follows:

(Read pertinent count of indictment)

The defendant is accused of violating a section of our state statutes that reads as follows:

A motor vehicle operator who knows that he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident . . . shall be guilty of a crime. . . if the accident results in the death of another person.

In order for you to find the defendant guilty of this offense, you must find that the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements:

1. that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle and was involved in an accident while operating that motor vehicle;

2. that the defendant knew that he/she was involved in an accident;

3. that the defendant knowingly and unlawfully left the scene of that accident; and

4. that the accident resulted in the death of another person.

The first element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle and was involved in an accident while operating that motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is any vehicle propelled otherwise than by muscular power, except such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks and motorized bicycles.1

The second element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant knew that he/she was involved in an accident.

A person knows that he/she was involved in an accident if he/she is aware that he/she was involved in an accident or is aware of a high probability that he/she was involved in an accident.

The third element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant knowingly and unlawfully left the scene of the accident.

1N.J.S.A.39:1-1.LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT RESULTING IN DEATH N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1Page 2 of 2

2If the sufficiency of the defendants stay at the scene of the accident becomes an issue, please refer toN.J.S.A.39:4-129(c), which specifies how long a motorist must remain at the scene of an accident.

3When appropriate, the jury should be instructed on causation.N.J.S.A.2C:2-3.

A motorist knowingly leaves the scene of an accident if he/she is aware that he/she is leaving the scene of an accident or is aware of a high probability that he/she is leaving the scene of an accident.

To determine whether the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant unlawfully left the scene of an accident, you must understand the obligations that New Jersey law places on a motorist who is involved in an accident.

A motorist who knows that he/she has been involved in an accident must:

(1) immediately stop his/her vehicle at the scene of the accident; or

(2) immediately stop his/her vehicle as close to the scene of the accident as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident.2

A motorist who fails to stop under these circumstances unlawfully leaves the scene of an accident. However, the State need not prove that the defendant knew of his/her legal obligation to stop at or near the scene of the accident.

The fourth element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the accident resulted in the death of another person.3The State need not prove that defendant knew that the accident had resulted in death or would result in death.

If you find that the State has proved each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant guilty.

If you find that the State has failed to prove any element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty.


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year

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Kenneth Vercammens Law office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets including drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal and Driving While Suspended.

Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Dont give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.

When your job or drivers license is in jeopardy or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, DMV surcharges and car insurance increases, you need excellent legal representation. The least expensive attorney is not always the answer. Schedule an appointment if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter.

Our website www.KennethVercammen.com provides information on traffic offenses we can be retained to represent people. Our website also provides details on jail terms for traffic violations and car insurance eligibility points. Car insurance companies increase rates or drop customers based on moving violations.

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