What does the law say?
A. Any operator of a motor vehicle who has received a visual and audible signal, a red light and a siren from a peace officer driving a motor vehicle showing the same to be an official police, sheriff, highway patrol or state game ranger vehicle directing the operator to bring the vehicle to a stop and who willfully increases the speed or extinguishes the lights of the vehicle in an attempt to elude such peace officer, or willfully attempts in any other manner to elude the peace officer, or who does elude such peace officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The peace officer, while attempting to stop a violator of this section, may communicate a request for the assistance of other peace officers from any office, department or agency. Any peace officer within this state having knowledge of such request is authorized to render such assistance in stopping the violator and may effect an arrest under this section upon probable cause. Violation of this subsection shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by not more than one (1) year imprisonment in the county jail or by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) or by both such fine and imprisonment. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be punishable by not more than one (1) year in the county jail or by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment.
B. Any person who violates the provisions of subsection A of this section in such manner as to endanger any other person shall be deemed guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years, or by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.
C. 1. Any person who causes an accident, while eluding or attempting to elude an officer, resulting in great bodily injury to any other person while driving or operating a motor vehicle within this state and who is in violation of the provisions of subsection A of this section may be charged with a violation of the provisions of this subsection. Any person who is convicted of a violation of the provisions of this subsection shall be deemed guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional institution for not less than one (1) year and not more than five (5) years, and a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).
2. As used in this subsection, "great bodily injury" means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Misdemeanor v Felony
As stated in the the above statute, simple eluding is a misdemeanor. However, if the police believe that they have evidence that during the pursuit the safety of the public was at risk, then they can charge you with a felony. Eluding can also be charged as a felony if the pursuit results in an accident that causes property damage or great bodily injury.
Criminal Charges v Personal Injury Suit
If you are in a situation where you have been charged with eluding an officer and there is a collision that involves property damage or personal injury, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to strategize so that your criminal charges have as minimal an impact on a civil suit as possible. This is definitely an area where being experienced matters!
What do safety regulations say about police pursuits?
STOP! DON’T DO IT!!! That’s what the research tells police to do. There are numerous studies that show that police chases are dangerous for the public and not always entered into wisely. If a person is injured during a pursuit it can be argued that the police are at at fault for not following appropriate safety guidelines and considerations. Let our knowledge of police regulations, rules, and research data go to work for you!
What about my safety?
Many times a person might choose to continue driving even after an officer turns on his lights and sirens. There are legitimate reasons to do this. Perhaps you were in an unlit area. Perhaps you are on a very busy road or highway. Perhaps you were alone and wanted to stop in an area with more people. As much as people don’t want to believe it, there are police officers who will do bad things if given the opportunity and you should not be penalized for trying to ensure your own safety.
Stay safe and stay silent. If you are accused of eluding or endangering others be sure to contact the aggressive and compassionate attorneys at Boeheim Freeman Law, who will fight for you and your rights!
The best criminal lawyers will argue about illegal stops, unconstitutional seizure, unwarranted searches, statistics, safety regulations and police error. Even if you do something for the right reasons, there are still many ways that police can use your actions against you. You need an attorney who not only knows the law, and knows the safety regulations that officers are supposed to abide by. Let Boeheim Freeman Law’s expertise and training go to work for you.