Avoiding Fleeing and Eluding Charges During a Traffic Stop
If a police officer begins to follow you while you are driving, you may be unsure how to react. Once you see the flashing lights behind you, it may be tempting to keep driving, especially if you do not believe that you have committed a traffic crime. However, if an officer is attempting to pull you over, one of the worst things you can do is try to elude them.
Signs that You Should Stay Put
Police officers may give visual or audible indications that a driver needs to stop moving. These can include:
- Hand signals
- Verbal orders
- Red or blue lights
Failure to stop after a police officer has given these signals can lead to criminal charges.
What You Should Not Do
If a police officer has given you any of the above signals to stop driving, you should pull over to a safe location and wait for further instruction. Failing to stop begins as a misdemeanor charge, but can be increased to a felony if the driver breaks certain laws or causes injury. If you are asked to stop, you should avoid doing the following:
- Speeding up – Driving faster can indicate to police officers that you are aware that you are being asked to pull over, and are purposely trying to evade them. In Illinois, driving 21 miles or more over the speed limit after an officer has indicated that a person must stop is considered aggravated fleeing or aggravated attempting to elude, which is a felony charge.
- Turning off car lights – Dimming or turning off the lights of a vehicle upon an officer’s approach can signal intent to flee. Driving without headlights can be dangerous for both the driver and other drivers on the road and can result in crashes. When driving with dimmed lights, you will not be able to clearly see what is in front of you, and other drivers may not be able to see your car as well. Drivers who injure another person while eluding a police officer can be charged with felony aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude.
- Modifying your license plate – Altering or concealing a license plate in any way while driving is illegal, and, when combined with evasion, can result in a felony charge.
Contact a Joliet Traffic Violations Defense Attorney
Evading a police officer can escalate a traffic stop situation, resulting in more serious charges than you would have received if you had complied with the officer’s directions. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, we are well-versed in strategies that can be used to avoid a conviction or reduce your sentence. To schedule a free consultation with a Will county traffic offenses lawyer, call 815-740-4025.