Seeing the flashing lights of a police car behind you can be a panic-inducing experience. Under stress, you might not be sure of what to do, and instead of pulling over, you continue to drive while you try to figure out how to respond to the situation. Unfortunately, failing to stop for a police officer is illegal and could lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge that could result in jail time and/or fines.
Defining Eluding or Fleeing Police
Under Pennsylvania Statute Title 75 Pa. C.S.A. Vehicles § 3733, it is illegal for a person, who has been given a visual or auditory signal by an officer, to willfully refuse to stop or attempt to elude the officer. Under this law, a signal can include hand, voice, emergency lights, and/or sirens.
This offense is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, and a conviction could result in a $5,000 fine and up to 2 years in jail. If you are found guilty, you will also face an additional penalty of $500.
The penalties for eluding or fleeing police can increase if you:
- Were driving under the influence (DUI)
- Crossed state lines
- Put the lives of others at risk because you engaged in a high-speed chase
If any of the above factors were involved, the offense is charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
If you were charged with eluding or fleeing police, a skilled attorney could bring up various defenses on your behalf, including:
- The police car was unmarked or not clearly marked
- The driver was not wearing a police uniform or badge
- You feared for your safety – when determining whether you meet this burden, the court may consider:
- When and where the attempted stop happened
- The type of car the officer was driving
- How you behaved when you were being followed
- Whether you stopped when you felt it was safe to do so
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Law Offices of William D. Thompson Today
If you are facing charges for fleeing and eluding an officer, our criminal defense attorney is ready to provide the skilled legal counsel you need. Backed by 15 years of experience handling various legal matters, we know how to effectively bring up defenses to challenge the prosecutor’s case and work toward getting charges reduced or dropped.