Evading a police officer refers to the criminal act of not stopping when told to stop, by a police officer. It does not matter whether the police officer verbally instructs a person to stop, or if they request a stop by flashing their lights. Generally speaking, the crime of evading a police officer occurs when a person is driving their vehicle and fails to stop for a police officer when they signal for the driver to pull over.
In order to be prosecuted for the crime of evading a police officer, the following elements must all be shown:
- While driving, the driver willfully attempted to get rid of the officer who was following them;
- The driver continued to drive with the intention to evade the police officer;
- The officer’s vehicle had at least one red light lit, and that light was visible from the front;
- The driver saw, or reasonably should have seen, the officer’s red light;
- The officer’s siren sounded;
- The officer was driving a distinctively marked car, meaning, they were not driving an unmarked or undercover vehicle; and
- The officer was in uniform at the time of the attempted stop, meaning they were not plainclothes or undercover.
If the district attorney fails to prove all of these elements, the driver cannot be charged with evading the police.
As previously mentioned, refusing to stop for police officers or evading a police officer is a criminal act. A person accused of evading the police may be charged with misdemeanor eluding police, which is generally punishable by six months in county jail and/or a fine of $1,000. Alternatively, they could be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. However, this is largely dependent upon the facts of each specific case.
How Is Evading Police Defined In The State of Nevada?
Although each state has its own definitions in terms of what constitutes evading police, every state defines evading police as the unlawful act of failing to stop when instructed to do so. Nevada law has expanded beyond this basic definition to include the actions of fleeing and attempting to flee a police officer, when that officer gives the signal to stop.
Additionally, eluding police and refusing to stop for the police are not considered to be different crimes in the state of Nevada. This is largely due to the fact that both terms refer to the same type of action. Both terms refer to a driver failing to stop when instructed or ordered to do so by law enforcement.
Is Resisting Arrest Another Term For Evading Police In Nevada?
Essentially, resisting arrest occurs when a person interferes with law enforcement’s attempt to perform a lawful arrest. Some states refer to this as crime obstruction. More specifically, resisting arrest is defined as the use of any amount of physical force in order to prevent a police officer from the following:
- Arresting you;
- Handcuffing you; and/or
- Taking you to jail.
It is important to note that even a small amount of force can be enough to constitute a resisting arrest charge.
In order to successfully convict someone of resisting arrest, the prosecution must provide evidence to support the following elements. Additionally, the jury must decide whether the prosecutor has proved every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Although the specific elements vary from state to state, in general, all of the following must be true:
- The defendant intentionally resisted a police officer;
- The defendant acted violently or threatened the officer in their attempt to resist them; and
- The police officer was lawfully discharging their official duties, and properly conducting official duties; meaning, they were not acting outside of their scope of authority.
As such, resisting arrest is not another term for evading police in Nevada, nor is it an alternative term for fleeing the police. Resisting arrest is a separate crime, as previously defined. In Nevada, resisting arrest can also be defined as obstructing a police officer in their efforts to arrest someone else.
What Is The Penalty For Evading The Police In Nevada? What Is The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Evading The Police In Nevada?
In Nevada, a charge for evading or eluding the police is generally considered to be a misdemeanor. This applies when there are no aggravating circumstances present. As such, the penalty for Nevada misdemeanor evading the police generally includes:
- A sentence of six months, which is to be spent in a county jail and not in a federal prison facility;
- A criminal fine of up to $1,000; or
- A combined sentence of jail time and a fine.
The charge is elevated to a felony when the person accused of evading the police is also accused of endangering someone else’s life in the process. The charge may also be elevated to a felony if they are being accused of damaging property while evading the police. These are two examples of aggravating factors.
What Else Should I Know About Evading a Police Officer?
If you are being charged with evading or eluding a police officer, there are some possible defenses. The most common examples include:
- Lack of Intent: You must have intended to refuse to stop for the officer. If you can prove that that was not your intention, you may be able to raise a successful defense;
- Mistaken Identity: An example of this would be that you were not the person driving the vehicle at the time of evasion. This defense would require a significant amount of evidence in order to be successful;
- Duress: An example of duress would be if you were forced to evade the police officer under a threat of harm, either to you or someone you know;
- Necessity: In order to use necessity as a defense, you must prove that you had an emergency in your vehicle, or an emergency that you were rushing to get to; and/or
- Unmarked Vehicle or Officer: As previously mentioned, the police officer ordering someone to stop their vehicle must meet certain requirements. If the police officer was not in uniform, or was in an unmarked vehicle and you feared stopping out of concern for your own safety, this could serve as a valid defense.
If a clearly identifiable police officer requests that a driver pull over their vehicle, under no circumstances are they allowed to refuse to do so. Even if the driver believes that the police officer has no reason to pull them over, the driver must do so on request or face a charge for evading the police.
In terms of what constitutes a legal stop, a stop is considered to be legal as long as the police officer can establish probable cause. To protect themselves from an evasion charge, drivers should find a safe place to pull over and have the officer explain to them why they are stopping them.
It is imperative that you know your rights. When pulled over, ensure that you provide the officer with the basic information they are requesting. This generally includes your driver’s license, and proof of registration and insurance. Once you have provided this information, you are completely within your rights to ask to remain silent and speak with your attorney; they cannot question you any further.
Do I Need An Attorney For Nevada Misdemeanor Evading The Police?
If you are being accused of evading the police in Nevada, you should consult with an experienced and local Nevada criminal attorney as soon as possible. A local lawyer will be able to determine if there are any legal defenses available to you based on the specifics of your case. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, while protecting your rights.