Under O.C.G.A. 40-6-39, it is illegal for a driver to willfully fail or refuse to stop their vehicle after being signaled by a police officer or a police vehicle to do so. To the driver's credit, the signal for a driver to stop their vehicle cannot be ambiguous. The officer in question must be in uniform and vehicle must be appropriately marked. The driver may be 'blue lighted' or another form of signal may be given. It is possible to be charged with Fleeing or Attempting to Elude as a standalone offense, although it is usually charged in conjunction with related offenses such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Often, a driver may not stop their vehicle precisely because they fear it will lead to a DUI charge. In other circumstances, they may be driving on a suspended license, have alcohol or drugs in the vehicle, or have a warrant for their arrest. The offense carries considerable penalties if convicted, including a minimum of ten days in jail.
Despite the gravity of this charge, there are a number of available defenses to it, including the possibility that the driver did not see or was not aware of the officer's attempt to initiate a traffic stop. It also entirely possible that the driver can offer a cogent reason as to why they did not stop the vehicle. In order to craft the best possible defense, the representation and advice of an Alpharetta DUI Lawyer is indispensable. Under this statute, it is also illegal for anyone to impersonate a police officer, in an attempt to avoid arrest or for any other reason. The consequent charges from impersonating an officer are especially severe.
Experience Makes the Difference in Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Cases
Anyone charged with fleeing or attempting to elude, whether as a standalone offense or in conjunction with a DUI is advised to retain a skilled DUI attorney with experience in defending these charges and handling DUI cases. As a former Georgia prosecutor, Richard Lawson offers not only a unique perspective for crafting a defense, he is also the most reviewed lawyer in all of Georgia. Richard Lawson may be able to help reduce your charge to a lower offense, in a best case scenario.
How Georgia Law Applies in Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Cases
It is also illegal to state that one is a police officer if they are not one to avoid arrest. In addition, if the accused driver, while fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer in an attempt to escape arrest for any offense:
(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) Is DUI over .08 grams
(v) Leaves the state then they may be charged with a felony facing up to five years in state prison
The offense itself may occur when a driver willfully ignores:
- visual or audible signals
- hand gestures
- vocal command
- flashing emergency lights or siren
The driver may also be charged with evading arrest if they:
- are speeding 20 miles or more above the indicated speed limit
- collide with another vehicle in the course of events
- hit a pedestrian or vehicle, causing an accident
- flee in traffic conditions that put public safety at risk
- operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Penalties of Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer
The minimum jail sentence for fleeing or attempting to elude sits at ten days, while the maximum can reach as high as 12 months. A fine will also apply, ranging from $500 to $5000. Upon a second conviction, the jail sentence minimum is increased to 90 days while still being capped at 12 months. The fine increases to a $1,000 minimum. For a third offense, the jail term range remains the same while the minimum fine is increased to $2,000.
As a Roswell DUI attorney with experience in fleeing and eluding cases, Richard Lawson is uniquely equipped to take on the intricacies of your case and fight to secure you the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude and/or DUI in the Roswell Alpharetta area, contact Richard Lawson immediately for a free consultation.