A criminal traffic case of fleeing became news recently as an alleged car chase that crossed Sumter and Marion Counties came to a stop in Alachua County. Sometimes a person accused of fleeing and eluding the police will also be charged with reckless driving, resisting arrest or obstruction of justice. Fleeing or eluding can also be charged as what is known as aggravated fleeing. Aggravated fleeing or eluding can also be charged with serious bodily injury or death.
Fleeing or eluding is always a criminal felony in Florida. The maximum punishments, depending on the facts of the case, can be anywhere from five (5) to thirty (30) years in prison. To prove fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, the State of Florida must prove that a person having knowledge that they were ordered to stop their vehicle, willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle or, having stopped, then willfully fled in an attempt to elude the officer.
Enhancements that will cause higher maximum penalties are fleeing or eluding a police car with lights and sirens activated, driving in a reckless fashion (think not OJ), causing serious bodily injury or death, and fleeing a crash with property damage or injury. In some cases, a person charged with fleeing a marked police unit faces a minimum mandatory three (3) years in prison. In addition to other punishments, the court cannot withhold adjudication in a fleeing case. This means that a person who cannot beat a fleeing charge will become a convicted felon and the court must revoke the driver’s license for one (1) to five (5) years. Furthermore, the motor vehicle involved may be seized by law enforcement.
With all of the different variations and penalties within fleeing or eluding, it is important to have someone on your side. Fill out the form, click or call now to hire a lawyer to defend you or a loved one.