A high speed chase, or “police chase” refers to instances where the driver of a vehicle has refused to stop for police when signaled to pull over, and has begun attempts to flee the police vehicle. It can also occur in connection with other crimes, such as when a car is acting as the getaway vehicle for a robbery. They can sometimes refer to chases between two non-police cars, though the term usually refers to instances where a police car is in chase.
As the name implies, high-speed car chases can involve high speeds well in excess of posted speed limits. Thus, they can be particularly dangerous for other drivers, pedestrians, and can cause property damage along the way. Speeds in excess of 100 mph can sometimes occur, especially on open highways and freeways.
Are There any Penalties for High-Speed Chase Charges?
High speed chase charges can result in serious criminal penalties. The charge can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. A police chase may be charged as a misdemeanor depending on the factors, such as:
- Relatively low speeds
- Little to no property damage
- No resulting injury to any parties
Misdemeanor charges can result in criminal fines and jail sentences of up to 1 year in a county facility.
However, a police chase can be classified as a penalty if certain factors are present, such as:
- Very high speeds
- Major property damage caused during the chase
- Injury or death resulting to other parties
- Endangering the lives of other drivers or pedestrians
Felony charges can result in severe consequences such as high criminal fines, and sentences ranging from 2-15 years in a federal prison facility. The prison sentences may increase if the charges are combined with other legal issues such as DUI, vehicular manslaughter, injury to a police officer, or other similar issues. Penalties may also vary according to state law.
Are There any Defenses Available for High-Speed Chase Charges?
In many cases, raising a defense in relation to high-speed chase charges can be difficult. The efforts to elude or escape a police vehicle tend to involve intentional conduct. However, certain defenses may exist, for instance, if the person was experiencing a medical emergency, or if they were unintentionally intoxicated without their consent.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with High-Speed Chase Charges?
High-speed chase charges can be serious and can result in strict criminal penalties. You may need to hire a criminal law attorney in your area if you need assistance with police chase or high-speed chase charges. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and guidance throughout the duration of your case. Also, if your lawyer can provide you with valuable representation during court meetings and hearings.