No one wants to get pulled over. If you haven’t done anything wrong, it could be a major inconvenience. You could also be terrified of police harassment and false allegations of a crime. If you realize the police may notice something else, such as alcohol or marijuana in the car, you may want to avoid traffic tickets or criminal charges.
However, when you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, the best course of action is always to pull over and politely see what the police are stopping you for. You might be worried for nothing and all the police want to do is inform you that your taillight is out.
But if you jump to conclusions or let your fear drive you, you could end up doing something you wouldn’t normally do, such as speed, tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, or other dangerous maneuvers. Your behavior could put other people in danger when you drive away from the police and you’d be charged with felony evading the police.
Felony Evading a Police Officer
In many situations, evading an officer is only a misdemeanor. Under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1, someone caught avoiding apprehension by the police while driving a vehicle can be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
But in other cases, individuals recklessly flee from an officer. In addition to running away from the police in their car, the driver does so with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of other people and property. California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 prohibits people from evading the police by driving in a willful and wanton disregard for other people and property’s safety. Section 2800.3 describes the punishment for those drivers who hurt someone else through their reckless fleeing.
- Tommy is driving after having smoked marijuana. He sees police lights behind him, but knows he’ll be ticketed for driving under the influence of drugs. Tommy not only speeds away from the officer but drives up onto the curb and sidewalk where there are people walking when he turns down a street.
- Anna is speeding through her neighborhood when she sees a cop car with its lights flashing pull up behind her. Instead of pulling over, she continues to speed and run a stop sign in front of a school where children are playing outside.
Potential Penalties Upon Conviction
Someone convicted of felony recklessly 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.
If the driver injured someone else, they could be imprisoned for up to 7 years and a maximum fine of $10,000. If the reckless evasion kills another person, the driver can be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Whether or not someone other than the driver was hurt, the driver will have points added to their license. These points add up quickly and it only takes 4 points within 1 year to lead to your license being revoked or suspended. If you end up losing your license, you’ll have to heavily rely on your family and friends and public transportation to get to and from work and your other responsibilities.
Your attorney will get to know every facet of your case to determine the best defenses to felony reckless evading of the police. Common defenses are that you didn’t intend to evade the officer or that the initial attempt at a traffic stop was illegal.
Your traffic defense attorney may also try and have the charge reduced to misdemeanor evading the police by showing your driving was not reckless.
Contact a San Diego Traffic Felony Attorney
No one wants a felony conviction following them around the rest of their life. However, if you try and tackle a felony charge yourself that may be exactly what you get. If you are charged with felony evading the police, you need a skilled and experienced San Diego traffic felony attorney like Jessica McElfresh by your side. Jessica has a proven track record of getting beneficial outcomes for her clients. She gets to know every facet of her client’s cases and aggressively defends their rights in the courtroom. To learn more about how Jessica can help you, contact McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107.