In Virginia, failing to obey signals from law enforcement officers to pull over constitutes the crime of eluding an officer. There are different types of eluding and different levels of eluding, but they all involve a conscious failure on the part of a driver to stop their vehicle when signaled to do so by police.
An attempt to elude an officer offense can lead to jail time, fines, and other repercussions. If you are facing charges, call a Mecklenburg County attempt to elude an officer lawyer. Let an accomplished traffic attorney fight for you and help you reach a favorable resolution to your case.
The elements of a misdemeanor eluding an officer charge in Mecklenburg County are that:
Felony eluding contains the additional element that the accused interfered with the pursuing law enforcement officer or endangered other people, including themselves, in the process of disregarding the signal to come to a complete stop.
Eluding an officer is always a criminal offense. There are three different levels of eluding an officer depending on how the offense is committed. The lowest level of eluding an officer is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, which is punishable for up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. An added penalty for all eluding offenses is that upon conviction, the court must suspend the defendant’s license for at least 30 days, but not more than one year.
Furthermore, if the speed of the defendant during the eluding reaches 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, the court must suspend the defendant’s license for at least 90 days. The next level of eluding an officer is a Class 6 Felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine. This is when the manner of eluding involves endangerment to anyone on the road, including the defendant himself, or interferes with an officer’s pursuit of the defendant.
The highest level of eluding an officer is a Class 4 Felony, which is punishable from two to ten years in prison, and up to a $100,000 fine. This is when an eluding results in the death of one or more officers that are pursuing the defendant’s vehicle, regardless of the defendant’s intentions. An individual facing these penalties should obtain an attempt to elude an officer lawyer in Mecklenburg County right away.
A seasoned Mecklenburg County attempt to elude an officer lawyer could help a defendant in many ways. Initially, a seasoned lawyer will be able to acquire evidence that explains why the officer believed the charge should be issued, and whether the offense was correctly charged as a misdemeanor versus a felony.
The attorney could then advise the accused on effective pretrial measures to take as a strategy to negotiate the charge downward to either a misdemeanor level, a different misdemeanor that has less of a license suspension, or a traffic infraction that does not have possible jail time or license suspension.
A lawyer could also identify any legal defenses that the accused might have to the charge, such as that the person reasonably believed they were being pursued by someone other than a real police officer. Before trial, they could more effectively negotiate with the prosecution and present mitigating evidence and arguments to soften their position on the charge.
If negotiations are not fruitful, a Mecklenburg County attempt to elude an officer attorney could make legal and factual challenges at trial to fight against a finding of guilt, as well as arguments to the judge about why only a minor punishment should be imposed even if the accused is found guilty.