Police officers can pull over drivers in California if they are breaking the rules of the road. Sometimes, drivers in this situation attempt to get out of legal trouble by trying to drive away. However, the act of attempting to get away from a police officer can lead to additional criminal charges.
Drivers may be charged under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1: Evading a Peace Officer if they try to get away from a police officer. Find out more about this charge with the professionals at the Simmrin Law Group.
The Definition of Evading a Police Officer
Drivers can face VC 2800.1 charges if they attempt to flee a police officer who is:
- Driving in a Motor Vehicle
- Riding on a Bicycle
The driver must intentionally try to evade the police officer in order to be charged under VC 2800.1. Additionally, drivers should only face charges if they were aware that the police officer wanted them to stop. Furthermore, the police officer must exhibit certain behaviors. Police officers driving vehicles must:
- Light At Least One Visible Red Light on the Front of Their Vehicle
- Sound Their Siren
- Wear a Distinctive Uniform
The vehicle the police officer drives must also be distinctively marked so that it is clearly a law enforcement vehicle. Police officers must ride bicycles that are distinctively marked. Police officers on bicycles must also:
- Verbally Command Drivers to Stop
- Give Hand Signals to Stop
- Use a Horn to Signal the Driver
Drivers that ignore the commands of police officers who have followed these guidelines can be prosecuted for evading a police officer.
Examples of Evading a Peace Officer
Check out these examples of evading a peace officer to learn more about this charge:
Driver A is on his way home after spending an evening in the bar. He knows he’s a little tipsy, but thinks he can make it. A police officer spots him driving erratically and pulls out to stop him, after putting on the lights and sirens. Driver A panics and decides to try to outrun the officer. He could be charged under VC 2800.1.
Driver B is making her way home through late-afternoon traffic. She changes lanes frequently and is driving above the speed limit. A police officer puts on lights and sirens and tries to stop her, but she believes that the officer is after someone else and does not stop. She might not be convicted of evading a peace officer since she was not acting intentionally.
Penalties for Evading a Peace Officer in California
VC 2800.1 is sometimes referred to as Misdemeanor Evading a Police Officer, because it is always charged as a misdemeanor. Drivers who are convicted under VC 2800.1 may be subjected to the following penalties:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
Note that, in more serious cases, a driver may face charges under:
- California Vehicle Code 2800.2: Reckless Evading of a Peace Officer
- California Vehicle Code 2800.3 Evading a Peace Officer and Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury
These charges can come with more severe penalties.
Defenses for Evading a Peach Officer Charges
Drivers who face charges for evading a peace officer may be able to build a solid defense by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately. A professional criminal defense lawyer can investigate the facts surrounding your charges and may be able to argue:
You Did Not Know You Were Being Pulled Over
Some drivers do not realize a peace officer is trying to pull them over, especially if the roads are very busy. You may not be convicted of evading a peace officer if you were unaware that the police officer was trying to stop you.
You Were Not Trying to Evade the Officer
Drivers in California may be nervous about stopping for flashing lights in their rearview mirror, especially on dark nights. After all, sometimes people will pretend to be police officers. If a driver – fearing for their safety – drives to a more secure area before stopping, without intending to flee, they may not be convicted under VC 2800.1
Let a criminal defense lawyer start building your case today if you are facing charges for evading a peace officer.
Get Help Handling Evading a Peace Officer Charges
Drivers in California do not have to deal with California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1: Evading a Peace Officer charges on their own. The criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can help build your defense. You can call (310) 896-2723 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.
Start examining your legal options today with a FREE initial case evaluation.