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Evading the police is a serious crime in California. If you injure or kill another person in the course of running from the police, you could be facing many years behind bars. Evading an officer causing injury or death is a felony in California, and you need to know all of the facts to help you beat this charge.
What is Evading the Police?
There are specific guidelines that determine whether you can be found guilty of evading the police. First, you must be in a motor vehicle. If the police stop you for a traffic infraction and you pull off instead of taking the ticket, you are guilty of evading the police. If you act in a matter that shows a disregard for safety or the lives of others, you can also be found guilty. This means that if you speed up, drive on sidewalks or race the wrong way on one way streets, you can be found guilty of this crime.
In order for the charge to stick, the police car must be marked with some decal or series of lights. If the car is unmarked, the officer must be in uniform. Finally, you must have the intention to evade. If you are being pulled over and you continue driving to find a safe place to stop, this can be used as a defense in your favor.
The charge of evading is a secondary charge that is tacked on to your original charge. If you steal a car and use it to embark on a chase with the police, you will be charged with grand theft auto and evading the police. If your actions lead to the injury or death of another person, you will face charges for vehicular homicide or assault.
Defenses to Evading an Officer
In order for your to be charged with evading, the traffic stop must have been legal. One of the most common defenses to this charge is that the stop was illegal in the first place. If you didn’t intend to evade police, your attorney will argue against that charge. In some cases, drivers are not attempting to evade the police. They may not see the lights on the police car behind them, or they may be afraid to pull over for an unmarked car.
One of the biggest defenses to the evading charge is that the vehicle was unmarked. The car should have markings that are visible from inside your car. There should be a bar of lights at the top of the car that indicate that is is a law enforcement vehicle. In addition, some courts will consider whether the officer used a siren in order to alert you to the traffic stop.
Penalties for Evading an Officer
If your evasion of an officer leads to injury of another person, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are found guilty, you could be facing between three and seven years in state prison. If, however, your actions lead to the death of another person, you will face a felony and up to 10 years in state prison. The difference between serving a 10-year prison sentence and walking free depends on your attorney’s ability to fight the charges.
Make no mistake, evading an officer is a serious charge. Don’t face it alone. You need a skilled attorney who knows the law and can challenge the charges against you. The consequences of this charge can ruin your life, making it hard for you to get a job in the future. Call today to discuss how we can help.