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Evading the police when they are pursuing you is illegal, and it can land you behind bars if you’re found guilty of this crime. With an attorney representing you, however, you can defend yourself against these charges and hopefully achieve a better outcome.
Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges for evading a police officer, you’ll need an Oakland criminal defense attorney like Elliot Silver to fight for you in and out of the courtroom. By working with Silver Law Firm, you have the best chance of getting your charges reduced, or perhaps dropped altogether.
Contact attorney Silver today at (510) 995-0000 to learn more during our free and confidential consultation.
The Definition of Evading the Police
Evading the police means that you are fleeing from the police in a vehicle while they are pursuing you. If you willfully evade the police, then you could be subject to harsh penalties under the law.
For example, perhaps you were speeding on a highway and a police officer caught you. They started pursuing you and had their sirens on, but you didn’t pull over. Instead, you kept on driving to try to flee from them so you wouldn’t get a ticket.
In another scenario, perhaps your taillight was out, and the police were following you to give you a ticket – or maybe even just issue you a warning for it. However, you didn’t feel like pulling over, so you kept driving until you reached your destination. Even though this wasn’t a dramatic incident, it’s still considered evading the police.
If you were reckless with your driving and you sped, hit another car, object, or pedestrian, or you were drunk driving, then you could face additional criminal charges and worse penalties.
Proving You Were Evading the Police
The prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of evading the police. They need to show that the police were in a marked vehicle like a car, motorcycle, or bicycle, you willfully fled from the police, you intended to evade the police, the officer was in uniform, and the vehicle had at least one visible red light. If the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence and can’t prove all these elements existed, then there is a chance that your charges could be reduced or dropped.
Penalties for Evading the Police
If you are convicted of evading the police, you could be charged with a misdemeanor. The consequences include:
- Up to one year in county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
If you were charged with felony reckless evading, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony reckless evading is driving in such a way that is dangerous for other people or property. For example, this could include speeding, going through stop signs and red lights, and not following other rules of the road. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, the consequences include:
- At least six months, and up to one year in county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
If you’re charged with a felony, then the consequences include:
- Sixteen months, or two or three years in jail and prison and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000
Your vehicle could also be impounded for up to 30 days.
Other related charges you could be hit with include a DUI, resisting arrest, and evading a police officer causing injury or death. You could also receive a tougher sentencing if there was a minor in your vehicle at the time and you were driving recklessly or you were carrying illegal substances in your vehicle.
Defenses for Evading the Police
There are different defenses you can use if you’ve been charged with evading the police.
For instance, the police officer may have been in an unmarked vehicle when they were pursuing you. They might not have had a visible red light on their car or they may have been wearing regular clothing. You could have been scared that this driver was following you, so you sped up or didn’t pull over. This would, therefore, not count as evading the police.
You may not have intended to evade the police either because you could have been responding to an emergency. For instance, if your spouse was having a medical emergency, you may have driven fast to the hospital to get there in time. When the police started chasing you, you knew it was more important to save your spouse.
If there were unsafe conditions and you didn’t want to pull over in a certain area, then this may not count as evading the police. For instance, perhaps there was an ice storm and you didn’t want to stop on the highway, so you waited until you could pull off onto an exit before you stopped. Again, the intent was not to evade the police. You were just trying to protect yourself.
Your initial traffic stop could have been illegal as well. This may count as police misconduct. Or, if you were drugged before you got behind the wheel of your car, then you shouldn’t be held responsible for what happened afterwards.
When you get in touch with your Oakland criminal defense attorney, you will decide on your defense so you can fight your evading the police charges.
Contact Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney Elliot Silver
Whether you’ve been charged with a felony or misdemeanor, you can defend yourself against evading the police charges with the help of an experienced attorney.
If you need representation now, then reach out to Oakland criminal defense attorney Elliot Silver today at (510) 995-0000 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free consultation. He looks forward to helping you with your case.