Is Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement a Felony? Here are the Consequences
Defendant Florida Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement Criminal Charges
Fleeing from a law enforcement officer or attempting to elude police is a serious criminal offense in the state of Florida. If convicted, a suspect will face a third-degree felony that stays on their permanent criminal history for life. If you are facing a fleeing or attempting to elude charge, there is no time to waste, as finding the right criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in protecting your future from unduly harsh consequences.
The Language Regarding Fleeing or Attempting to Elude
Under Florida Statute §316.1935 a suspect can face fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement criminal charges if:
- They are driving a motor vehicle on a public highway; and
- A duly authorized law enforcement officer orders the suspect to stop their motor vehicle; and
- With knowledge of the law enforcement officer’s intent to pull the car over the suspect;
- Intentionally or purposely fails or refuses to comply with the officer’s order for the vehicle to stop; or
- Having brought their vehicle to rest, the suspect then flees from the officer to evade capture.
The Penalty For Fleeing or Attempting to Elude
If convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude charges, the penalties a suspect can face are:
- A maximum of five (5) years in prison
- A maximum of five (5) years probation
- Maximum of $5,000 in fines
- Driver’s license suspension of between one (1) and five (5) years;
Increased penalties for fleeing or attempting to elude can be imposed if, during the pursuit, there are aggravating factors that increase the severity of the offense. These aggravating factors can include:
- The suspect causes severe injury or death to another while in the act of fleeing or eluding;
- An officer has activated their siren and their lights in pursuit of the suspect; or
- The suspect’s driving is considered reckless due to high speed, driving the wrong way on one-way streets, or fleeing through crowded streets or where a large number of pedestrians are present.
Defenses to Charges of Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement in Florida
Although fleeing or eluding charges in Florida pose significant challenges, there are valid defenses that can be raised. Not only may these defenses exonerate you from criminal liability, but they may also ensure that your prospects are not hindered by a criminal conviction that may not be fully supported by the evidence. Keep in mind that prosecutors are required to prove each essential element of the criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If they fail to present sufficient evidence for even one of the elements, a jury may find the suspect not guilty.
Some of the most common defenses to eluding or fleeing criminal charges in Florida are:
- The Knowing Element: There are times when suspects do not know that an officer is attempting to pull them over. Crowded and noisy streets, driver distraction, and police cruiser positioning are all factors to scrutinize to challenge the assertion that the suspect knew that law enforcement was attempting to pull them over.
- The Suspect’s Intent. Even if the evidence shows that the suspect knew an officer was attempting to have them stop their motor vehicle, prosecutors still have to establish that the suspect intended to flee or elude. Intention can be especially tricky in cases where the suspect does not provide any statements after being arrested.
Don’t Go it Alone-Find The Right Legal Ally Now
No one wants to be facing serious felony charges for fleeing or attempting to elude. However, there are times when the charges are merely unavoidable. Although the stress and uncertainty of the outcome of these charges may cause many to lose hope, faith can be restored if you can find the right legal team to guide you through the Florida criminal justice process. Don’t run the risk of being outmatched when called to answer your fleeing or attempting to elude charge. It is essential that you have an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who stands with you every step of the way to ensure you receive the best outcome possible. For more information on Jessica Damoth P.A. please visit her website: https://jdamothlaw.com