If law enforcement tries to stop your vehicle and you take off, prosecutors can charge you with fleeing and eluding. Even if you believe you did nothing wrong, it is important to pull over to avoid a charge as such. In many instances, fleeing and eluding will be just one of several charges you may face in connection with the incident.
Many people evade police officers out of fear of getting in trouble with the law. However, failing to pull over or leaving the scene will only make things worse. If you face a fleeing and eluding charge, you need a seasoned attorney to defend you immediately.
A Carrollton fleeing and eluding lawyer will take the time to understand your circumstances and present the most persuasive defense possible. With the help of a seasoned advocate, you can effectively fight a fleeing and eluding charge. Contact our firm today to discuss your situation with a skilled attorney.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §40-6-395 describes fleeing and eluding as failing to stop for a police officer who is giving clear signals that they wish for the vehicle to stop. These indications include vocal signals, hand signs, or using a police vehicle’s lights and sirens.
The law specifies that the officer must be in uniform, and the vehicle must be a marked police vehicle. If the officer was in civilian clothing or driving an unmarked car, the crime of fleeing and eluding does not apply.
Prosecutors can charge fleeing and eluding as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the surrounding circumstances. However, even a first-time offender misdemeanor charge is considered a high and aggravated misdemeanor offense in Carrollton, and penalties increase if the accused has prior convictions for fleeing and eluding. A fourth conviction for what would otherwise be a misdemeanor fleeing and eluding offense within ten years will be treated as a felony charge. A Carrollton attorney can explain the relevant penalties an accused individual might face in a specific fleeing and eluding situation.
In some cases, prosecutors charge fleeing and eluding as a felony. Someone can face a felony charge if they:
When fleeing and eluding is a felony, the penalties increase. Upon conviction, an offender faces prison time of twelve months in the county jail to ten years in the state prison, fines of $5,000-10,000, or both. The serve time on these sentences cannot be served on probation.
Jail time is mandatory for felony evading cases. A Carrollton attorney can challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and attempt to provide evidence of a defense or mitigation to the prosecutor. If that is not possible, they can contest the charge at trial and force the prosecutor to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defenses available depend on the circumstances surrounding an arrest. A Carrollton attorney will learn as much as possible about the alleged fleeing and eluding situation and craft a defense accordingly.
The statute requires that the attempt to elude be willful, and that can sometimes present a defense. If the driver did not know the police were signaling them to stop, the failure to stop could not be willful. Similarly, sometimes a person intends to stop but is looking for a safe place to do so. A defense attorney can argue that a defendant feared for their safety and was reasonably waiting to stop until they were in a well-lit area with witnesses.
Courts take it seriously when someone evades the police. If you are facing a fleeing and eluding charge, it is essential to have a capable defense attorney on your side.
A Carrollton fleeing and eluding lawyer can review all the facts of your case and provide the most effective defense the circumstances allow. Contact a seasoned legal professional at J. Ryan Brown Law today to get started.
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC