My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: New Jersey
A few weeks ago I was backing out of my driveway around 8:30 PM (dark, narrow street, limited street lights) and hit the back of a woman's bug knocking out her tail light. Only her car was hit going about 5 miles per hour, no other damage or personal injury occurred. She was double parked with her lights off, and her car was also a dark blue. From my rear view window it blended perfectly with the cars correctly parked on the other side of the street.
I got out to apologize, check out the damage etc. I'm in the process of switching drivers licenses after losing mine and changing it to a NJ one, so I didn't have it on me. She was very rude and condescending, demanding to know my age, acting like she was a cop, ("I'm going to need to see your license and registration") and obviously defensive about the way she was parked leading to my hitting her. Still I gave her all the information I could, we were directly outside of my home which I pointed out to her, gave her my address, phone, name, etc. I was in a hurry to get to the store before it closed so finally I said, "listen, I'm very sorry, the damage looks minor, I'm sure our insurance companies will work something out to get this repaired. Okay?" To which she replied, "Mmm hmm," and I drove away.
Looking back I should have stuck around longer, however I was under the impression that our business was done. But after I left she called the cops and filed a report which read that I had "hit her and then fled the scene." Here's where it gets tricky, a ticket was then mailed to my home for "leaving the scene of an accident," BUT was issued to my mother who owns the car. Our first and last names are different, so it's no clerical error, though she and I do live together. The woman I hit called our house ("to make sure it was a real number") and spoke to my mom who offered again to work something out privately, but that's when she told her that she'd already called the cops.
Obviously a private agreement was made, this woman did not tell me she was going to call the police, or ask me to stay when I moved to leave. We also clearly had a private conversation because she had called my home using the number I gave. The way I see it she called the cops after the fact, then lied to say that we'd had no conversation at all, I'd simply "fled." Our plan is to have my mom go to court since she absolutely isn't guilty of anything, and the ticket is issued to her. From what I've read if the judge does say my mom's not guilty that then it's up to the cop if he wants to re-issue another ticket to me, am I correct? How likely is that? What else should we do or say, what should we expect, and what general advice do you have? We are so stressed, annoyed, and obviously angry about this situation. I'm hoping that the case will be dismissed since it's so convoluted, but if a new ticket is issued to me I'm thinking I will need a lawyer.
Thanks so much for any help you can provide!