Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police
Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police in Pennsylvania
Most of us have seen suspects on television fleeing the police, whether in a vehicle or on foot. While these chases are usually very dramatic, if you live in the state of Pennsylvania, it is important to know that you could be charged with Fleeing and Attempting to Elude a Police Officer for conduct far less dramatic than that seen on a movie or tv show. If you are facing this offense, it is extremely important that you take the charges very seriously, and that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices. We will ensure your rights are properly protected, and will fight for your freedom, with a goal of the least amount of penalties possible.
While this crime may not seem all that serious—particularly if there was no high-speed chase and no one was endangered—the penalties are extremely severe, if you are convicted. Because of this, the sooner you speak to an attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices, the better your future will look. We will work hard on your behalf to help you avoid jail time. If you are able to avoid spending time in jail, this will go a long way in preventing your charges from hindering your future employment opportunities. In other words, while it may not seem like a particularly serious crime, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police is serious—and our attorneys will give your charges the attention they deserve.
Lawyer for Fleeing or Eluding Police Arrests in West Chester, PA
Were you arrested in southeastern Pennsylvania for an alleged fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer offense? Do not say anything to authorities until you have first contacted Ciccarelli Law Offices.
Our criminal defense attorneys in West Chester defend clients accused of traffic crimes in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Chester County, and the greater Philadelphia area.
You can have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (610) 692-8700 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Failing to Stop After Receiving a Command or Signal from the Police
If you failed to bring your vehicle to a stop after receiving some type of command or signal to do so, you face a 2nd degree misdemeanor. You could receive up to two years in prison, if convicted of this offense. If you failed to stop your vehicle and you crossed a state line, were driving while impaired, or you endangered the public or police officers by engaging in a high-speed chase, you could face 3rd degree felony charges. If convicted of this 3rd degree felony, you could face up to seven years in prison. In addition, you could also face the following:
- You will have a permanent criminal record.
- You could face fines up to $500.
- You could lose your current job, or lose future employment opportunities.
- You could face an increase in your auto insurance premiums—or be denied coverage altogether.
- For a first offense, you could face a mandatory driver’s license suspension for one year, and possibly longer for subsequent offenses.
Fleeing and Eluding Police Statute in Pennsylvania
The Fleeing and Eluding Police Statute is found in Title 75, Section 3733 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code. This code states that any driver of a vehicle who “willfully fails or refuses to bring his or her vehicle to a stop, or who otherwise flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer, when given a visual and audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop, commits an offense.” The “visual and audible” signals include sirens, lights, hand signals and voice commands. You must have been able to hear and/or see these signals to be charged with Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police. The circumstances surrounding your charges of Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police will determine whether you are charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor, or a 3rd degree felony.
Potential Defenses to Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police in Pennsylvania
If you have been charged with Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police in the state of Pennsylvania, you need an attorney who will fight zealously on your behalf, as the penalties for a conviction are extremely harsh. Your attorney may try to show that the reason you failed to stop was because you were worried about your safety. There are several factors which could back up the claim that you were concerned about your safety, such as:
- Whether or not you stopped as soon as you reached a well-lit or populated area
- The time and the location of your attempted stop (whether it was dark, or you were in a well-known unsafe area of town)
- Your behavior while the police were following you (whether or not your slowed down, or activated your hazard lights)
Further, if the police officer was not wearing a badge or a uniform, or was driving an unmarked car, this lends credence to your concerns regarding your safety. As an example, if you merely drove 300 additional feet after the police officer activated his lights and siren, in order to find a safer place to pull over, it is unlikely charges of Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police will hold up.
It must also be definitively shown that you deliberately chose not to stop, even after the officer engaged lights and/or sirens, or gave some other type of signal. Perhaps you were listening to music and did not hear the sirens, or the officer activated his lights after you made a right turn, so you truly did not see them. Your visibility could have been impaired or limited by other factors as well, which could provide a defense for your charges.
Overview of Fleeing or Eluding Police in Pennsylvania
- How does a person commit the crime of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer?
- Are there any defenses against these charges?
- Where can I find more information about fleeing or eluding in West Chester?
Fleeing or Eluding Police Charges in Chester County
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3733(a), any driver who willfully fails or refuses to bring his or her motor vehicle to a stop, or who otherwise flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer, when given a visual and audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop, commits the offense of fleeing or attempting to elude police officer.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3733(b) establishes that the signal given by the police officer may be by:
- Emergency lights; or
Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer is typically charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, but the crime becomes a third-degree felony if the alleged offender does any of the following while fleeing or attempting to elude the police officer:
- commits a driving under the influence (DUI) violation;
- crosses a state line; or
- endangers a law enforcement officer or member of the general public due to the driver engaging in a high-speed chase.
West Chester Fleeing or Eluding Police Penalties
The possible punishments imposed on people for fleeing or attempting to elude police officer convictions will depend on the grade of the alleged offense. Generally, maximum sentences are as follows:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to two years in jail and fine of up to $5,000; and
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to seven years in prison and fine of up to $15,000.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3733(c) establishes two defenses against fleeing or attempting to elude police officer charges. It is a defense to a prosecution that the pursuing police officer’s vehicle was not clearly identifiable by its markings or, if unmarked, was not occupied by a police officer who was in uniform and displaying a badge or other sign of authority.
It is also a defense to prosecution if the alleged offender can show by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure to stop immediately for a police officer’s vehicle was based upon a good faith concern for personal safety. In determining whether an individual satisfies this burden, the court may consider the following factors:
- The time and location of the event;
- The type of police vehicle used by the police officer;
- The defendant’s conduct while being followed by the police officer;
- Whether the defendant stopped at the first available reasonably lighted or populated area; and
- Any other factor considered relevant by the court.
Pennsylvania Fleeing or Eluding Police Resources
Patrol Division | West Chester Borough, PA — The Patrol Division of the West Chester Police Department is comprised of officers who are on patrol 24 hours a day, 7 day a week for residents of the Borough of West Chester and East Bradford Township. Visit this section of the West Chester Police Department to learn more about the duties of patrol division troopers. Elsewhere on the website, you can access forms, open records, and annual reports.
West Chester Police Department
401 E. Gay St.
West Chester, PA 19380
Traffic Stop | Flex Your Rights — Flex Your Rights is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization that believes “people must be prepared to intelligently ‘flex’ their constitutional rights during contacts with police.” It creates and distributes what it refers to as “the most compelling, trustworthy, and practical know-your-rights media content in the universe.” Visit this section of its website to find answers to frequently asked questions about traffic stops, police encounters at your door, and other general questions.
Ciccarelli Law Offices | West Chester Fleeing or Eluding Police Defense Attorney
If you were arrested for allegedly fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer anywhere in southeastern Pennsylvania, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal counsel.
Ciccarelli Law Offices represents residents of and visitors to Plymouth Square, Springfield, Malvern, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, and Radnor.
Our criminal defense lawyers in West Chester can fight to help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. Call (610) 692-8700 or fill out an online contact form to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
How We Can Help
If you are charged with Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police, if convicted you could feel the repercussions from that conviction for a very long time as a result of the extremely harsh penalties involved. Having an attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices, who has a thorough understanding of your charges as well as a familiarity with local court systems is crucial. Our attorneys will work hard for the best possible outcome to your charges, which could include probation instead of prison, a withdrawal or amendment to your charges, or perhaps entry into the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, a pre-trial intervention program for non-violent offenders with no prior criminal record, or a limited criminal record). At Ciccarelli Law Offices, success is our mission—we are driven to serve and ready to fight. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610)-692-8700.