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In California, an individual can be charged with felony reckless evading when he or she evades a police official in an automobile and disregards the safety of individuals and property, which is explained in Vehicle Code 2800.1.
However, specific actions must be committed to issue a guilty verdict. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual was intentionally attempting to evade the police officer. In addition, the police officer’s vehicle must have a lighted red lamp, a siren, and an additional feature that identifies it as a law enforcement vehicle. The police officer must also have on an official uniform. If any of these factors are not present at the time of the arrest, then it could result in a dismissal of the charge.
What are the Penalties if Found Guilty?
Although felony is in the name of the charge, felony reckless evading can be a felony or misdemeanor charge in California. If an individual is charged with a misdemeanor, it could result in a jail sentence that ranges from six month to one year and a 1,000 fine. When an individual faces felony charges for this crime, he or she could face a prison sentence that ranges from 16 months to two years, and it is important to note felony sentences are carried out in a state prison (not a county jail). In addition, an individual facing a felony charge for this crime may also have to pay a fine up to 10,000 if convicted, and his or her vehicle could be impounded for up to 30 days if found guilty.
Possible Legal Defenses
When you face a felony reckless evading charge in California, it is imperative to seek guidance from a criminal defense attorney immediately. A criminal defense attorney who understands the legal process may be able to establish a legal defense that prevents a conviction. A prosecutor must show there was sufficient evidence that the accused drove in a reckless manner, and the police officer must have made the initial stop legally. When these are not present, it could lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Insufficient Evidence Proving Specific Intent
If a prosecutor is not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused specifically intended to evade a police officer, the accused is not guilty as stated in Vehicle Code 2800.2. There have been instances where individuals have been stopped and feared for their well-being. If a law enforcement officer pulls an individual over in a car that isn’t properly marked, it could lead some to feel they are in a potentially dangerous situation, so they attempt to move to a safer location. As a result, they may be charged for a crime they did not specifically intend to commit, and under the law, they are not guilty of the charges. A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can challenge any claims that the accused was intentionally evading the police officer.
Lack of Evidence Proving the Accused Evaded the Officer
Being found guilty of evading states the police officer must be in a vehicle and clothing that meets the specific requirements of the law, and the prosecutor must also prove the accused committed specific actions. Because all of these factors must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, numerous cases are dismissed because the prosecution is not able to meet all of the specific requirements.
Insufficient Evidence of Reckless Driving
To be found guilty of this crime, a prosecutor must also prove the accused drove in a reckless manner. An individual can only be convicted when the prosecution proves the accused was driving in a manner that caused a significant risk to others or violated specific traffic laws.
The Charge was Caused by an Illegal Stop
An officer can only stop a driver if there is suspicion of criminal activity. If an individual was pulled over without cause, it is an illegal traffic stop. The illegal actions of the police officer can be used as a defense to fight the charges.
If you have been charged with felony reckless evading in the Los Angeles area, contact a legal expert to protect your rights. Felony reckless evading charges can lead to serious consequences, so it is vital to have a skilled legal team on your side.