Being pulled over by a law enforcement officer can be incredibly stressful. From the moment those lights flash, your mind starts to race. It’s important to remain calm and look for a safe place to pull over. The same is true for other legitimate police commands when you’re not in your vehicle. Anyone who has been charged with evading an officer, a violation of either Vehicle Code § 2800.1 (a misdemeanor) or § 2800.2 (a felony), usually either has a sense of outrage and insistence of innocence or, on the other extreme, cannot stop admitting their guilt.
It is important to be aware that evading the police requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant acted intentionally. If evidence suggests that they did not notice the officer or were not in a position to hear the officer’s order, the prosecution probably cannot get a conviction.
You are driving on the highway when the police signal for you to pull over. You drank a few beers before you started driving and are worried that you may be over the legal limit. Instead of pulling over, you speed up and try to lose the police by weaving through traffic.
If you engage in dangerous or negligent driving whilst being pursued by police, you could be charged with ‘Dangerous or Negligent Driving while pursued by Police’, which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment.
A criminal charge of fleeing or evading the police may be either a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending upon the circumstances. Generally fleeing the police in a vehicle is a felony charge,but eluding the police on foot is usually a misdemeanor.
If you are convicted of evading a police officer, you are guilty of a misdemeanor. If the prosecution is able to prove the elements of the crime of evading a police officer upon conviction of Canada Vehicle Code Section 2800.1, you face:
Someone convicted of felony reckless evading the police face up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. They will also be responsible for court costs, attorney’s fees, and the costs of towing and impounding your car.
There are several defenses that a skilled criminal defence attorney can raise on your behalf in order to reach the best possible result in your case these includes:
Lack of Intent – Committing a prohibited act is one element. The second element is having the intent to do the prohibited act. Lack of criminal intent can be a strong defense to a crime. Flight is not a crime unless the defendant has been detained or arrested. The line between a detention and arrest is not always clear, but generally, a person is under arrest whenever a police officer has stopped the person and the person is not free to leave.
For example, if you did not pull over immediately because you were unable to do so due to unsafe traffic conditions or you reasonably did not know that you were being pulled over, you may have a successful defense.
Improper Police Procedure – If a police officer requests that an individual pull over, under no circumstances can they refuse to stop. Even if that person believes the police officer has no reason to pull them over, they must do so on request. If you inadvertently evaded police, you need a criminal defense attorney experienced in these matters. You should not let the wheels of fate turn on their own, because they may turn in a direction you neither deserve nor want. In order to stop your vehicle or arrest you, police must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion that you committed a criminal offense. If the circumstances or facts are not enough to indicate that an offense was committed, but you are arrested or detained anyway, then your case could be dismissed on grounds of improper police procedure.
Insufficient evidence – According to the law requires that the officer was reasonably identifiable as a police officer that the officer be wearing a distinctive uniform. The next element of the crime that is often susceptible to defeat is whether the red light was visible and the siren was loud enough. The siren must be at least 115 decibels, so evidence of its recent calibration and testing to this level or above should be established by the prosecution.
Emergency – If you were involved in an emergency and did not pull over because it could have impacted your safety or the safety of another, then your attorney can raise this defense on your behalf. A medical emergency such as a passenger in labor and you are in route to the hospital and taking evasive action to avoid an accident.
You do not just need a criminal defense lawyer, you need a Board-certified criminal defense lawyer. As such, you can expect thorough, aggressive legal representation by someone who has the experience and insight proven by successfully argued cases in court and successfully dismissed cases outside of court.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is knowledgeable of the effective strategies of dismissing evading officer charges. Further, they can help you negotiate a plea bargain to get rid of the charges and enter for a lesser crime that carries a smaller punishment. An attorney will be able to help you understand the criminal justice system and prepare the best arguments in your case so that you can achieve the best outcome. Our law firm understands the importance of procedural due process. If you are facing criminal charges, you need an experienced attorney to review all of the allegations and evidence against you. Our attorneys know how to fight for your rights and to prepare a strong defense for trial.
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