Unless you are lucky, you probably have experienced the feeling that you get when you are about to be pulled over by the police. Red and blue lights are flashing behind you, you hear the sound of the siren, and you get a sinking feeling of dread in your stomach. In situations like this, it is important that you obey what police are trying to tell you: pull over. In some cases, your natural fight or flight response tells you to run away from police, but that is one of the worst things you can do. Fleeing police is a crime that is not taken lightly and can result in serious consequences, such as a license suspension or revocation.
Illinois Vehicle Code Definitions
There are two separate offenses that you could be charged with if you decide to flee or attempt to elude police when they are trying to pull you over:
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Peace Officer
This charge states that you are guilty of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer if you have been given a visual or audible signal by police indicating that you need to pull over, and you knowingly do not obey. You can also be charged if you:
- Increase your speed;
- Turn off your lights; or
- Perform any other action that attempts to flee or elude police.
A first offense of this crime is a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry a possible jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500. If you are convicted of this crime, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license for up to six months for a first conviction and 12 months for a second conviction. A third or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony.
Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Peace Officer
A fleeing or eluding charge becomes more serious if certain conditions are present. You can be charged with aggravated fleeing or eluding an officer if you:
- Speed at least 21 miles per hour over the speed limit;
- Cause bodily injury to another;
- Cause more than $300 worth of damage to property;
- Ignore two or more traffic control devices; or
- Conceal or alter your license plate.
A first conviction of this offense is a Class 4 felony, which carries a possible sentence of one to three years in prison and fines not to exceed $25,000. Your driver’s license will be revoked by the Secretary of State upon notice of a conviction. Any subsequent convictions under this offense are classified as a Class 3 felony.
Get Help From a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Fleeing a police officer is a serious crime that, upon conviction, leads to jail time more often than not. If you have been charged with fleeing or eluding a police officer, you should immediately contact a Joliet criminal defense attorney for help. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba can help you try to avoid a conviction at all costs. Contact our office at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation.