If a police officer requests that an individual pull over, under no circumstances can they refuse to stop. Even if that person believes the police officer has no reason to pull them over, they must do so on request. As long as the police officer can establish probable cause of any law, ordinance, or safety code, then the stop is legal. Best practice is for the driver to find a safe place to pull over and have the officer explain why they are stopping them.
Whether refusing to stop is considered a felony, misdemeanor, or a "slap on the wrist" depends largely on the driver’s actions. For example, regardless of whether the driver means to be evasive, leading the police on a high-speed chase will be a felony. By contrast, simply not noticing the lights of the patrol car in the rearview mirror may elicit a warning from the officer. It is not uncommon for reckless driving and other charges to be brought against drivers who refuse to stop for police officers.
If a driver refuses to stop for a police officer upon request, the officer will most likely assume the driver is in a serious violation of the law. The idea the officer will have is "if you have nothing to hide, why wouldn’t the driver simply stop?" After all, it is always possible to contest a ticket or an illegal stop after the fact. Refusing to stop will only lead to negative consequences such as:
Police officers need to be respected because of their authoritative status. However, because they are human, police officers make mistakes. Even if you believe that a police officer is pulling you over improperly, refusing to stop will only make matters worse. After the incident, contact an attorney to learn more about your rights and defenses and whether you can challenge the stop in court.
Last Modified: 10-27-2016 10:54 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.