You may have experienced that moment of fear when you first hear a police siren behind you or you see the blue and red lights flashing in the distance while driving. Your first instinct is most likely to slow down immediately. But for others, they may choose to speed up or even try to outrun the police for any number of not-very-good reasons. When this happens, it will usually lead to serious misdemeanor or felony charges with the possibility of incarceration. In this post, we’ll explore what it means to evade the police and how a criminal defense attorney will be able to help you in the event that you are charged with eluding the police.
What Does Eluding the Police Mean?
Illinois law defines eluding the police as failing to pull over or stop for a police vehicle after being signaled or increasing your speed to avoid being apprehended by a police officer. You may also be charged with evading capture, resisting police or obstructing police if you flee on foot after you are pulled over. Typically, eluding the police is a misdemeanor crime, but it can also be charged as a felony called Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Peace Officer when:
- You flee at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour in excess of the speed limit
- You harm someone as a result of eluding the police
- You cause over $300 in property damage
- Your license plate is concealed or altered
- You violate at least 2 traffic signs, stop lights, or other traffic control devices
What Happens When You Are Charged With Eluding the Police?
After you are charged with eluding the police, prosecutors will attempt to prove that the police officer indicated with visual or audible signals for you to pull over and that you willfully disobeyed.
Being convicted of eluding the police may result in fines, jail time, license suspensions, or adverse immigration consequences possibly including deportation for non-citizens.
Common Defenses for Eluding Police Charges
All cases involving eluding the police are best handled with an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. Under the law, you can only legitimately be found guilty of evading the police if you ran or engaged in a police pursuit intentionally. Your attorney may attempt to demonstrate that you never saw the police officer or were unaware a pursuit was in place. Another possible defense is demonstrating that the officer did not enable the proper visual or audible signals for you to pull over, or you were in an emergency situation and couldn’t stop when the officers signaled. Finally, if the officer was not in uniform at the time he or she pulled you over, was not in a marked squad car or their lights were not flashing, you may also be able to use these factors in your defense.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
With most eluding police charges, it is often possible to avoid jail time and adverse effects on your driver’s license if you have the right criminal defense attorney by your side. However, if you have a prior criminal record or other serious traffic violations, the potential punishment may be more severe. Reach out to an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as any charges are brought against you. To learn more about eluding/fleeing charges and the penalties associated with a conviction, contact the Chicago defense attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC We have been helping people charged with serious offenses for over 25 years. Call our attorneys right away at (312) 644-0444 for a free initial consultation.