Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Atlanta, Georgia

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A charge of fleeing or attempting to elude a Georgia law enforcement officer is a very serious charge with serious consequences that can occur as a result. People run for a variety of reasons and may do so even just out of a panic response, never really intending to break the law. However, those who run are usually charged, but you can mount a strong defense to protect yourself from these charges.

With the help of an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney by your side to defend your case, you can defend your constitutional rights. Never assume you are guilty just because you are charged with a crime.

Fleeing or Attempting to Elude

Georgia law surrounding fleeing or attempting to elude is codified at O.C.G.A. 40-6-395.  It states:

"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."

Elements of the Offense

The Georgia prosecutor in your case is required to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high burden on the state. The prosecutor is required to prove you willfully failed or refused to stop or you willfully fled a police officer who has given a visual or audible signal to stop.

Willful failure is not accidental. It cannot simply be that you did not see or hear the signal for a certain period of time, there must be a choice to elude. 

Most people think of fleeing or eluding as the high-speed car chase seen on television. While this is a prime example, it is far from the only way a person can flee or elude officers. Some examples illustrate the differences.

Example: Ben is stopped for a suspected DUI, and while on the side of the road, he decides to run after getting out of the car. He is chased down and tackled, then arrested. He can be charged with fleeing and eluding.

Example: Anne sees the flashing lights and hears a police signal behind her. She does not stop but continues at the same speed as before. She does not speed away, or attempt to "make a run for it," but instead drives 20 more miles until she gets home. Police arrest her and she is charged with fleeing or eluding because she refused to stop.

Audible or Visual Signal

An important requirement of the offense is that an officer is required to use a visual or audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. This can include, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • police cruiser lights
  • police sirens
  • hand signals to pull over
  • written signs or symbols to pull over
  • voice instructions to pull over

If the officer uses a clear audio or visual signal that you need to pull over, willful failure to do so can result in a criminal charge. One other thing to note, the Georgia law enforcement officer is required to be in uniform and the car must be appropriately marked as a law enforcement vehicle.

Penalties for Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer

A person who is charged and convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude is typically guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. When this is the case, the penalties for the charge include:

  • a minimum possible fine of $500
  • a maximum possible fine of $5,000
  • a possible jail term of between ten days and twelve months

If this is a person's second conviction for fleeing and eluding within a ten year period, the penalties are more severe. In that case, the penalties for the charge include:

  • a minimum possible fine of $1,000
  • a maximum possible fine of $5,000
  • a possible jail term of between 30 days and twelve months

If this is a person's third or subsequent conviction within a 10 year period, the penalties continue to increase. When this happens, the penalties for the charge include:

  • a minimum possible fine of $2,500
  • a maximum possible fine of $5,000
  • a possible jail term of between 90 days and twelve months

Penalty Enhancements

The penalties for fleeing and eluding can be further enhanced when one or more of certain other factors are met, including:

  • the driver operates the vehicle in excess of 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit during the commission of the offense
  • the driver strikes or collides with another vehicle or pedestrian
  • the driver flees in traffic conditions which would place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries
  • the driver commits a violation of paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391
  • leaves the state during the commission of the offense

If a person commits one of these actions in his or her attempt to flee, they will be charged with a felony-level offense. The penalties are much more significant for a felony-level charge, and include:

  • a maximum possible fine of up to $5,000
  • a minimum possible prison term of 1 year
  • a maximum possible prison term of 5 years

A felony charge can also significantly affect your other rights, and make it difficult to find and maintain employment.

Associated Charges

Many of our clients charged with fleeing are accused of additional offenses. DUI is commonly charged alongside attempting to elude because people refuse to stop their vehicle because they are worried about being charged with a DUI. Other common charges include driving on a suspended license, drug possession, or a warrant has already been issued for their arrest.

Consult an Experienced Atlanta Fleeing and Eluding Attorney

A fleeing and eluding charge can result in very serious penalties that can negatively affect your life.

With the help of an experienced Atlanta fleeing and eluding attorney, you can defend your case and protect your constitutional rights. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

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