Getting pulled over by the police can be scary. The power the police wield is serious. They have the power to stop you and ask you a few questions. If they have probable cause of a crime, they can arrest you. Even if you’re sure of your innocence, you might fear being arrested or harassed.
However, no matter how nervous or scared you might be, it’s never a good idea to try and run away. If you’re in a car and an officer is driving a car or motorcycle or riding a bike, starting a chase will only lead to you being guilty of evading the police. If you were previously innocent of any crime, you’ve now made yourself guilty of an offense and possibly made yourself look guilty of a previous crime.
If you made the wrong decision and tried to drive away from an officer, you should call an experienced San Diego evading defense lawyer right away. The right traffic defense attorney will understand the seriousness of this crime and help you defend yourself in court.
Misdemeanor Evading a Police Officer
Under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1, a person is prohibited from purposefully fleeing from a peace or police officer in a car. Anyone caught avoiding a cop is guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Cathy was stopped for speeding and the police officer sees open containers of alcohol on the passenger seat. The officer asks Cathy to step out of the vehicle, but instead, she puts the car in drive and speeds away. The cop followers her in his car and she continues to drive faster.
- Bobby was on the way to a party when he sees flashing lights behind him. He thinks he can out run the cop so he speeds up and continues to head to his friend’s house instead of pulling over.
Whether you agree with it or not, you don’t have the right to argue with or run away from the police when they have stopped you or are attempting to make an arrest. You may be tempting to yell and shout that you’re innocent, or being scared may cause you to drive away or just never pull over, but it’s always best to comply with an officer’s legal requests and prove your innocence later in court with the help of an experienced San Diego misdemeanor traffic attorney.
Evading a police officer under Section 2800.1 is a misdemeanor crime. You can be fined up to $1,000 and sent to jail for 1 year. If you serve a lesser sentence, you might be on probation for a period of time. Whether you’re dealt jail or probation, your freedom will be severely limited.
Your vehicle may also be taken and impounded for up to 30 days. You’ll be responsible for any costs associated with towing and impounding your car.
You will also have points added to your license. If you obtain 4 points within 12 months, the state may revoke or suspend your license. You may have to live with your license for months, during which time you’ll need your family and friends to help you get around or rely on public transportation and cabs. This can become more than a mere inconvenience when you need reliable transportation to work and to take care of your kids.
Possible Defenses For Your Misdemeanor Traffic Charge
There are several defenses to evading an officer in a car, including:
- You didn’t intend to run away from the police. In order to be convicted of evading the police, the prosecutor must prove you willfully tried to escape the police in your car. Your attorney may be able to show you never had this intention. They may also be able to show that you weren’t sure they were actually the police if the cars weren’t marked or the officers weren’t in uniform.
- The police didn’t have the right to pull you over or attempt to arrest you. Your lawyer may be able to show that there was no legal reason for the police trying to apprehend you.
- There was an emergency. If you can show you were on the way to the ER, you may not be convicted.
Contact a San Diego Evading Defense Lawyer
Evading the police is a serious issue and it should be handled by an experienced attorney like Jessica McElfresh. Jessica has years of experience defending residents of San Diego county. Whether it’s a minor traffic ticket or there are allegations of police abuse, Jessica handles every case professionally and aggressively. She wants to protect your rights and minimize the negative consequences of any conviction. She has a proven track record of beneficial outcomes for her clients. Contact McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 to learn more.