Most of us have been there. We’re driving to work or home. We’re so used to the trip that we don’t pay close attention to how fast we are going: 90 in a 65-mph zone or 40 in a 25-mph residential area. We look in our review mirror and see what we think is a patrol car. A quick exit off the highway or a quick right turn shows us the police vehicle is still behind us.
Panic sets in. Our mind races to what we have in the car that maybe shouldn’t be there, what we might have on our person, what we drank or smoked, our boss expecting us at work, our family expecting us at home, and/or our bank account too low to pay a ticket.
Before the red-light flashes on the patrol car, we’re evading.
When the red light does flash, we know we should pull over and admit our mistake. But something takes over: the spirit of Road Runner evading Wile E. Coyote, or Bugs Bunny outrunning, outsmarting slow and incompetent Sheriff Elmer Fudd. The latest chase scene we watched online. We’re American. We were raised to love the thrill of the chase. So, we try to ditch them. Of course, we know if the police are following us, evading them is against the law.
California Penal Code:
California Penal Code calls our dashing away resisting arrest. The code states it is unlawful to resist, delay, or otherwise obstruct a law enforcement officer or emergency medical technician from performing his or her duties.
When you dart off the highway or keep driving down the street toward home, knowing the patrol car is following you, you are resisting arrest.
The penalties for misdemeanor reckless evading a peace officer are:
- Six months to almost a year in jail
- A fine up to $1,000, or
- Both the jail and fine.
The penalties for felony reckless evading a police officer are:
- Between 16 months and three years in state prison
- Fines up to $10,000, or
- Both prison and the fine.
For both misdemeanor and felony, your vehicle can be seized and impounded for up to 30 days.
The Prosecution Must Prove:
To be convicted of reckless evading, misdemeanor, or felony, the prosecutor has to prove the following:
- The police were following your vehicle
- You were the one driving your vehicle when you ran away or evaded the police if they followed you
- All of the below are true:
- The patrol car was clearly marked as a police car
- The patrol car had at least one red light that was visible from the front of the vehicle
- You saw the red light
- The siren on the patrol car was on
- The peace officer was in uniform.
An experienced evading arrest lawyer knows a number of defenses tactics to bring up on your behalf:
- No intent
- Police did not follow procedures correctly
- The Police did not collect enough evidence to convict
- Your actions were because of an emergency.
If you have been charged with evading arrest, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced evading arrest misdemeanor lawyer. The Flores Law Group in Tustin, California for a personal case evaluation at (714) 769-1200 today.