Atlanta, Ga. – A teenage driver died after allegedly leading a police chase through Downtown Atlanta earlier this week.
Georgia State Troopers reported that the seventeen-year-old died after Troopers resulted to utilizing a PIT Maneuver in order to stop the vehicle. The pursuit was initiated by Atlanta Police, but Troopers were eventually called in. The PIT Maneuver resulted in the vehicle hitting a guard rail near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and overturning. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police chases typically do not end well. As an Atlanta DUI Attorney, I will focus on the law behind “police chases” – fleeing the police.
Fleeing the Police
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-395 of the Georgia Code defines the offense of fleeing or attempting to elude as:
It shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such signal shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle.
A first time offense of fleeing or attempting to elude is classified as a high and aggravated misdemeanor in the state of Georgia. This means that if a person is convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude, he or she is facing up to 12 months of jail time as well as fines up to $5,000.
However, there are circumstances that can exacerbate the penalties associated with a charge of fleeing or attempting to elude. These circumstances include when a driver flees and:
(i) Operates his or her vehicle in excess of 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit;
(ii) Strikes or collides with another vehicle or a pedestrian;
(iii) Flees in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries;
(iv) Commits a violation of paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391; or
(v) Leaves the state.
If a driver flees under any one of the above-mentioned circumstances, then a person is facing a felony charge of fleeing or attempting to elude.
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