It is common knowledge that when you see a police car with its flashing lights on, you are expected to pull over, even if only to get out off the way of the vehicle. But failing to do so does not constitute evading arrest, nor is the definition limited to the high speed chases commonly featured on TV news programs. In fact, most cases involving evading charges do not involve these types of chases. That is why anyone accused of evading the police should immediately contact a skilled San Diego criminal driving offense lawyer no matter what the specifics of their particular case.
Most evasion charges are misdemeanors, but if you tried to outrun the police by using any particularly reckless driving tactics, you could instead be charged with felony reckless evading. Felony reckless evasion requires a mandatory sentence carrying a minimum six month jail sentence. Reckless evasion can also be proven if you violate three traffic laws or cause property damage of any kind while fleeing the police.
While evading the police does not necessarily involve a motored vehicle, most criminal cases do, which is why we have chosen to focus on these situations here, but if you were being pursued by an officer on foot or on a bicycle, San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss can still help you fight the charges.
In order for you to have committed the misdemeanor crime of evading a peace officer in a vehicle, you must have either tried to evade or flee from an officer who was pursuing you in a marked motorized vehicle. While that may sound like a fairly straightforward charge, there is actually a lot the prosecutor must be able to prove in order for you to be found guilty. In fact, the prosecution must be able to show that:
- You were intentionally trying to flee or otherwise evade a police officer
- The police vehicle was distinctively marked
- That the officer’s vehicle had at least one lit red lamp visible from the front
- You either saw or should have seen the lit lamp
- The officer sounded his or her siren as was reasonably needed
- The officer driving the vehicle was wearing a distinctive uniform
If not all of those requirements have been met, then your San Diego traffic offense lawyer will argue that the state did not meet all the legal standards necessary to convict you of evading a police officer. These laws were put into effect in order to protect civilians from persons trying to impersonate an officer of the law by ensuring that a real police officer always will use the same standard tactics and have some type of visible proof of their authority when pulling over a civilian.
While the burden of proof is fairly high for the prosecution to meet in these cases, it is still critical that anyone faced with this serious charge always contact a skilled San Diego traffic crimes attorney as the crime carries the potential sentence of up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine –and that is if you are charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. Additionally, many persons charged with evading are also accused of resisting arrest or other driving crimes, which means you need an expert driving defense lawyer in San Diego to help you fight any and all charges related to the incident.
If you have been accused of evading the police, please call San Diego criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss at (858) 486-3024 as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.
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