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It happens too often in Los Angeles. A law enforcement officer stops a vehicle or tries to get a vehicle to stop. The driver does not obey the officer’s commands and speeds away in an effort to elude law enforcement. They willfully flee the scene. The driver may disregard traffic signals or worse. They are in the process of committing felony reckless evading. This is explained in California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2. This statute covers attempts to elude law enforcement and driving a vehicle in a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of people and property.
In order for the defendant to be found guilty of felony reckless evading, a prosecutor must prove certain things. It has to be shown the defendant driving the vehicle willfully fled. They did this in an effort to elude law enforcement. The law enforcement officer had one or more lit red lamps on their vehicle. This was easily seen from the front. It is reasonable to assume the defendant saw the law enforcement officer’s lit lamp. The officer used their siren as required. Their vehicle was properly marked as a law enforcement vehicle. The law enforcement officer was wearing an appropriate uniform. The defendant intentionally evaded the law enforcement officer, and while evading the officer, they had a willful disregard for property and the safety of people.
In order for an individual to be charged and convicted of felony reckless evading, it must be proven they actually intended to flee or elude law enforcement. Should someone be dealing with an emergency situation, they should not be charged. If someone is trying to get to the hospital because they are involved with a medical emergency, this is an acceptable defense.
A person could be convicted of felony reckless evading if they were pulled over by a law enforcement officer riding a bicycle. This is covered in California Vehicle Code 2800.1 and enables a person to be charged when a law enforcement officer on a bicycle gives a motorist a verbal command and hand signals to stop.
There are certain legal elements required for an act to be considered felony reckless evading. The law enforcement officer was going after a defendant who was operating a vehicle. The act of evading a law enforcement officer was intentional. As the defendant was driving, they willfully fled from a pursuing law enforcement officer as well as attempted to elude them. The defendant had intent to flee a pursuing law enforcement officer. The defendant had a wanton disregard for safety. The defendant understood the serious risk they were exposing to people or property by their operation of a vehicle but disregarded it.
In California, felony reckless evading is known as a wobbler law. This means a defendant can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. The defendant’s history and circumstances of the incident will be taken into consideration. If convicted of a felony, a person could be sentenced to formal probation. They could also be sentenced up to three years in prison and given a fine of up to ten thousand dollars. A person will be charged with one count of reckless evading no matter how many law enforcement officers participated in the pursuit.
An effective legal defense for felony reckless evading is that it was not an individual’s intent to evade law enforcement. There is not enough evidence available to prove an individual’s behavior met the legal standard for felony reckless evading. There is not enough evidence that an individual drove recklessly. It can also be suggested the traffic stop was illegal. There is also voluntary intoxication. This is intended to demonstrate an individual did not have the required intent to commit felony reckless evading.
It is possible for a person charged with felony reckless evading have had their actions misunderstood by law enforcement. This is when it’s essential to speak with an attorney. They will be able to explain things in ways members of the legal system will understand.