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Evading a Police Officer

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What Is Considered Evading a Police Officer?

Evading an officer is generally classified as a criminal misdemeanor. However, it can be considered a felony if you violate other laws while running from the officer. 

The crime generally occurs when you are driving a car and failed to stop for a police officer when he signals you to pull over. Also, evading a police officer is sometimes the lesser charge for driving under the influence (DUI), but a person may be charged for both evading police and a DUI.

To be prosecuted for the crime, the following elements must be shown:

  • While you were driving, you willfully attempted to get rid of the officer.
  • You kept driving with the intent to evade that officer.
  • The officer's vehicle had at least one red light lit and was visible from the front.
  • You saw or should have seen the red light.
  • The officer’s siren went off.
  • The officer was driving a distinctively marked car.
  • The officer was in uniform.

If the district attorney cannot prove the above elements, then you cannot be charged with such an offense.

What Are the Defenses?

Valid defenses include lack of intent to evade the officer and insufficient evidence to prove the elements of the crime.

What Are the Consequences?

In California, the penalties for evading a police officer may be as severe as one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Also, the court may impound your vehicle for 30 days and suspend your license.

Consulting an Attorney

An experienced criminal defense attorney is knowledgeable of the effective strategies of dismissing evading officer charges. Further, they can help you negotiate a plea bargain to get rid of the charges and enter for a lesser crime that carries a smaller punishment.

Photo of page author Mabel Yee

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 10-27-2016 10:56 PM PDT

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