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.
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.
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.