Fleeing and eluding, occasionally known as fleeing and eluding an officer of the law, is a charge laid when a driver fails to stop or fails to remain stopped when ordered to by a law enforcement officer during the course of their duties. Being convicted of a charge of fleeing and eluding can lead to prison time, fines, and mandatory revocation of your driving privileges.
If you have been arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding an officer of the law, it is absolutely critical to work with an experienced defense lawyer to examine all your legal options. This can be particularly true if you have been charged with any of the violent subtypes of fleeing and eluding charges, which can lead to tougher sentencing when it comes to jail time, and other harsher penalties.
What Does Fleeing And Eluding Mean?
In F.S. 316.1935, the Sunshine State defines fleeing and eluding. It states that it is a crime for a driver to not stop their vehicle despite being fully aware of the officer’s orders to stop. When considering a fleeing and eluding offense or charge, there are three elements:
- The defendant was operating a motor vehicle on a Florida street or highway
- A law enforcement officer, being authorized to do so, ordered the driver to stop or to stay stopped.
- The driver, knowing they were ordered or otherwise given the directive to stop by the law enforcement officer, willfully refused to stop the vehicle, or if they were already stopped, did not remain so and willfully fled in their attempt to elude the officer
Of course, these are only the bare basics for the general charges. There are many factors that can lead to enhanced penalties or toughened sentencing. Some of these are:
- Lights and sirens. If you run from an officer while the lights and sirens are activated on the police car, you can face more penalties. This charge needs the police vehicle to be a marked car. Further penalties can be incurred for high speed or reckless driving while fleeing and eluding.
- Sirens and light, as well as high speed or reckless behavior that results in serious bodily injury or death. This factor is an aggravating factor that includes all possible previous elements along with the defendant causing serious bodily injury or death to another person or officer in the chase.
Penalties For Fleeing And Eluding
The penalties for fleeing and eluding can be very severe, featuring a strong possibility of jail time even for a first time offender. With this in mind, it is always better to avoid the conviction by getting the charges reduced or even dropped. Working with a qualified criminal defense lawyer can help with this.
Why Choose LJ Law Group?
When your freedom and future are on the line, you need to consider working with an experienced fleeing and eluding lawyer firm in South Florida like LJ Law Group. They will be a strong ally in your fight for freedom. Contact us today.