Fleeing and Eluding
Fleeing or eluding is another example of a crime that falls under the transportation section of the state laws, but is still a criminal charge that can affect a person’s criminal background. Either the act of fleeing or the act of eluding law enforcement can result in arrest and prosecution. Fleeing and eluding is also an example of a crime, like reckless driving, that can be highly subjective. Police officers have been known to charge a driver or pedestrian with this crime when in fact the defendant had no intention of running or hiding from the police. There are also cases where the defendant simply did not notice that the police were trying to get the defendant’s attention. Because these traffic criminal cases are subjective, and can also be the result of police officer’s misconception, there may be specific defenses that are available to a defendant. Call the firm anytime to discuss in further detail the defenses that may be available in your case, but the following paragraphs will provide an overview of the state law.
Fleeing and eluding is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000. A second or subsequent conviction may result in up to 2 years in jail. If the act results in the injury to another person, including a police officer, the defendant may face up to 3 years in jail. If the fleeing and eluding results in death, the defendant may face a maximum 10 years in jail. There are multiple ways that a police officer can legally charge a person with this crime. The most common scenario occurs when an officer tries to conduct a traffic stop, and the driver does not pull over within a reasonable time. There is no exact standard for what a reasonable time is, but most officers will not simply arrest a person for fleeing and eluding if they make the officer drive for longer than he or she wants to drive, but we have seen such cases. The law requires that the police give a visual or audible sign to stop, and that the defendant deliberately ignore the signs to stop. These two requirements often provide a traffic lawyer with powerful defenses for this crime. An experienced lawyer will typically present the argument that the willful element of the crime was not proven.
Fleeing and eluding can also be charged against a pedestrian who is alleged to have either run away from police or hid from police after a lawful command to stop was given. There are certain requirements in the fleeing and eluding laws that may present a criminal lawyer with defenses, such as that the police officers must have been in a visibly marked police car, or have been in uniform and wearing proper police insignia. There have been cases involving undercover police officers, and it is certainly a viable defense to claim that the defendant could not reasonably have known that the person giving the orders to stop was an actual police officer.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or ticketed for fleeing and eluding in Baltimore, or anywhere in Maryland, contact The Herbst Firm for a free consultation. Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, and are ready to fight for your rights in court, and if necessary at an MVA driver license suspension hearing.