With Jon Jones facing felony charges based on allegations that he was involved in a hit and run motor vehicle collision the next question is what is required under New Mexico law to prove the case against him? Here is a quick breakdown –
Section 66-7-203 NMSA 1978 requires every motorist to stay at the scene of any collision involving injury, death or property damage and to “give his name, address and the registration number of the vehicle he is driving“.
Failure to do so in cases involving death or personal injuries violates section 66-7-201 and, depending on the level of injury can result in either felony or misdemeanor charges. The Section reads as follows:
Misdemeanor charges are reserved for cases “where the accident does not result in great bodily harm“. If the case does involve “great bodily harm” it can lead to a fourth degree felony with a penalty of up to “eighteen months imprisonment.”. If it can further be proven that a defendant “knowingly” failed to stay at the scene the charges can be upgraded to a third degree felony with penalties increasing up to three years of imprisonment.
Based on the media reports it sounds like Jones may be facing the more serious of the felony charges as his reported post collision conduct can be used to prove the ‘knowingly‘ element of the more serious charge.
The bigger issue will be whether the reported broken arm is enough to constitute “great bodily harm” which is defined as follows:
“”great bodily harm” means an injury to the person which creates a high probability of death; or which causes serious disfigurement; or which results in permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any member or organ of the body“.
If the injury at the very least leads to a “protracted impairment of function” then this element can be met.