Are You Charged With Fleeing and Eluding Police?
We have all seen high-speed chases on television with police in hot pursuit. Failing to pull over when a peace officer directs you to do so can be considered fleeing and eluding police. You can be arrested and slapped with serious charges. But what if you were listening to a song on the radio and had no idea police were behind you - or worse, what if you saw the bright lights, panicked, and hit the gas - what then? You may need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side to fight serious criminal charges.
Did You Willfully Evade Police?
If a police officer in Illinois tells you to do something verbally or uses a sign instructing you to stop your vehicle, you must comply. The officer can signal by hand, voice commands, flashing red and blue lights, or sirens.
Under the law, there must be no doubt that it is the police pulling you over, as it must display illuminated oscillating, rotating, or flashing red and blue lights. Anyone who willfully fails or refuses to obey the officer’s direction by speeding up could be charged with attempting to elude the officer.
Potential Defense Strategies
Just because you are charged with this offense does not mean you are guilty. A prosecutor still needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally disobeyed the police officer’s effort to stop your vehicle, and that you willfully fled or eluded the officer. If you did not see them in your rearview mirror, the charges could be dropped because you did not intentionally try to evade police. These are other possible defenses if you have been charged with this crime:
• Lack of Intent – You did not know a police officer was pursuing you
• Necessity – You had an emergency and were unable to pull over
• Threats – You were forced to evade police due to threats, such as if someone was forcing you to continue driving
• Mistaken Identity – You were not the driver even though it was your car
Consequences of Fleeing and Eluding Police
• Fleeing or attempting to elude the police is a criminal offense under Illinois law. You can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, face up to one year in jail, and a $2,500 fine in addition to other court costs.
• If convicted, your driver’s license could be suspended for six months. A second offense could result in a one-year suspension. If this is the third time or more that you have committed this offense, it is considered a Class 4 felony and you could be facing one to three years behind bars in addition to a $25,000 fine.
• If you injure someone or cause property damage at the time of the offense, you could be convicted of aggravated fleeing and eluding, which would result in a revocation of your driver’s license.
Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Fleeing or eluding police can have serious consequences. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we will try to help you challenge the charges against you. Our Will County criminal defense lawyer will review your case and ensure you understand the options that you have at your disposal. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.