Flight from an officer involves a crime of fleeing from a police officer. You can be charged if you intentionally run away from the police to avoid being apprehended, arrested, or detained. Also, if you refuse to pull over despite being ordered by a police officer, you can be charged with Flight from an officer.
Truthfully, no one likes to be pulled over by the police, but it is important that you obey. Being pulled over is stressful, but what is more stressful and frustrating to deal with is getting into a criminal charge for not obeying a “pull over” order. When an officer orders you to pull over, you are expected to stay calm and look for a safe place to pull over. It’s a basic command, it is in your best interest to obey it.
Laws Guiding Flight From An Officer in Jefferson Parish
La RS 14:108.1 guiding Jefferson parish prohibits a driver from intentionally refusing to bring a vehicle to a stop upon command or signal, whether sound or visual command. If an officer waves you down when he believes you have committed an offense, you must bring the car to a stop. Failure to obey the signal can attract a flight from an officer charge.
A more serious degree of flight from an officer, “aggravated flight from an officer ” happens when a driver refuses to stop a vehicle under a circumstance where human life is endangered. If a driver is flagged with emergency light and sirens, but he refuses to stop, causing danger to human life, he is convicted for aggravated flight from an officer.
What Situation Can Be Considered as Flight From An Officer?
1. You are driving down the town road with your right taillight out. A police officer flags you down with his lights. You refuse to pull over because your house is just a few blocks away, so you just ignore and keep driving. This situation can attract a conviction.
2. You have had a few bottles of beer and you get behind the wheels on the highway. The police signals you to pull over, but you refuse to stop because you are worried they might detect you are drunk. You speed up trying to lose the police rather than stopping the vehicle.
3. If you don’t stop promptly after a police officer flags you down, you could face charges for fleeing from an officer. “Promptly” is the keyword in this situation. When a police officer signals you or tells you to stop, find a safe place to pull over. If you refuse and keep driving and later stop when the officer chases you, you are still guilty of the charge.
4. If you pull over upon command and then speed away, causing an extended chase before you eventually pull over, you could be charged for fleeing from an officer.
What Situation Can Be Considered as Aggravated Flight From An Officer?
“Aggravated flight from an officer” is a case of flight from an officer in which human life is endangered. Example of situations that can endanger human life include;
1. Leaving the roadway or forcing another vehicle to leave the roadway when fleeing from an officer.
2. If a collision with another vehicle occurs.
3. If the driver exceeds the speed limit by at least 25 miles/hour.
4. If the driver drives recklessly or travels against traffic to evade an officer.
5. Failure to obey a warning sign, such as stop or yield.
6. Failure to obey a road regulatory device or a traffic control device.
What Penalties Will I Face For Fleeing From An Officer In Jefferson Parish?
1. Anyone who commits the crime of flight from an officer gets to be imprisoned for not more than 6 months or fined not less than 150 dollars nor more than 500 dollars or both.
2. Anyone who commits the crime of aggravated flight from an officer will be imprisoned for not more than 5 years or fined not more than 2,000 dollars or both.
3. If the crime of aggravated flight from an officer results in bodily injury, the offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years and made to pay a fine of not more than $2,000.
4. In addition to the above sentencing, the court may order the offender to make restitution, which includes payment of legal interest.
What Are The Elements of This crime?
1. If you have a flight from an officer charges, certain elements must be proven by the prosecution to nail you guilty. If evidence gathered suggests that you did not notice the police officer or you did not hear the order, then you can’t be convicted for a crime of flight from an officer.
2. To be convicted for a flight from an officer crime, the police must be chasing you in an official vehicle; a marked police car or motorcycle.
Also, the police car or motorcycle must have sounded a siren or exhibit at least on red visible light. This will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver is fully aware that it is the police.
3. You must know that the command to stop does not have to be verbal or explicit, simple handled gestures can serve as a command. If a simple hand gesture is clear, the prosecution can sustain a claim.
What Should I Do When I’m Charged with Flight From an Officer?
If you are charged for fleeing from an officer, you need to talk to a lawyer. There are many ropes of defense that can be used in this case. Your defense attorney knows the best ropes string. Importantly, do not go on arguing with the police. It’s best you stay calm and not chatter yourself into more trouble.
Contact Our Metairie Criminal Lawyers
Get legal assistance by hiring a Metairie criminal lawyer for your case. This is the only way your case can get better. Talk to us at Barkemeyer Law Firm. We are dedicated to the interest of our clients.