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What Is The Punishment For Fleeing And Eluding?

Posted in Criminal Defense,Sentencing on July 27, 2020

We have all seen reality TV shows where alleged perpetrators are fleeing from police. These Incidents do occur, though they are rarely as dramatic yes TV shows make them out to be. Sometimes, a person flees from or attempts to elude the police while they are on foot. Other times, a person may flee from law enforcement in a vehicle. The reality is that, regardless of how a person attempts to flee from law enforcement officers, there are severe punishments for this type of behavior. Here, we want to examine some of the common laws related to fleeing and eluding a police officer as well as the penalties involved.

California Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC

Under California law, it is illegal to flee from the police if they are pursuing you for any reason. The California vehicle code specifically says that if you willfully flee or try to evade a pursuing law enforcement officer while you are in your vehicle, you will be charged with a crime.

A person convicted of California Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC will be guilty of a misdemeanor offense. So long as the prosecution is able to prove the elements of this crime, a perpetrator could face:

  • A jail sentence of up to 364 days
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • A combination of both jail and fines

In addition to these penalties, any vehicle used to evade a police officer could be seized and impounded for up to 30 days.

Crimes Related to Evading a Police Officer

There are various other charges that a person could face that are related to evading a police officer. This includes the following:

  • Resisting Arrest – PC 148(a)(1). It is unlawful to resist, obstruct, or otherwise delay a law enforcement official (or emergency medical worker) from performing their duties. This is considered a crime similar to that of evading a police officer. If a person is charged with resisting arrest, they will face a misdemeanor offense and the same penalties as the crime listed above.
  • Reckless Evading a Police Officer – VC 2800.2. This charge is similar to fleeing from police, though this will be upgraded to recklessly evading a police officer if the person fleeing wantonly disregards the safety of other people and property. A person convicted of this offense could face a misdemeanor charge with the same penalties listed above or a felony charge that could result in a longer prison sentence of up to three years as well as a fine of $10,000.
  • Evading a Police Officer Causing Injury or Death – VC 2800.3. If a person attempts to flee from the police and causes serious bodily injury or death to another person in the process, they can face either a misdemeanor or felony offense that carries the same penalties mentioned in the other crimes listed above.

Possible Defenses to These Charges

All of the crimes mentioned above that are related to evading or eluding the police can result in serious consequences for the person charged. There are various defenses that a criminal defense attorney can use to attempt to help reach a positive outcome for their client. This can include proving that their client did not intend to flee from the police. For example, an attorney could argue that a person was unable to pull over because it was unsafe to do so. An experienced Riverside criminal lawyer could also attempt to show that the police used improper procedures when attempting to stop or arrest a person. Finally, an attorney could work to prove that there is insufficient evidence to support the charges levied against their client.