Consequences of Fleeing or Eluding a Police Officer in Orlando

Fleeing and eluding is a relatively common offense in the United States and the state of Florida has laws in place to deal with people who have tried to flee or elude a police officer. Fleeing or attempting to elude is considered as one of the most serious criminal traffic offenses you may be charged with in the state of Florida. All fleeing and eluding offenses are felony level offense. This means that there is no misdemeanor or lesser offense for Fleeing or Eluding. If you have been charged with Fleeing or Eluding a law enforcement officer in Orlando, Florida, you will have to get in touch with an Orlando criminal traffic defense attorney.

When can you be charged of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer?

You can be charged of fleeing to elude if you willingly or knowingly refused to stop your vehicle after being ordered by a duly authorized law enforcement officer. The officer should be in uniform when he or she orders you to stop.

In the case if you willfully or purposely fled your vehicle after having stopped when the police officer ordered you too, that will also be considered as fleeing to elude. The law only applies to vehicles being driven on a street or highway in Florida.

At the time of fleeing, if the officer has lights and sirens activated in their vehicle, but you still drove away, you will face extra penalties. Similarly, if there was a high speed chase after you drove away with high speed or reckless driving, causing serious bodily injury or death of another person, then the charges against you will increase considerably.

Penalties for Fleeing to Elude in Orlando, Florida

The state of Florida takes fleeing to elude very seriously. The base offense of Fleeing to Elude a law enforcement officer is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 1 offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. In such cases, the judge can impose up to 5 years in prison with up to 5 years of probation along with a maximum of $5,000 in fines. The driver’s license is also suspended for a minimum of 1 year up to a maximum of 5 years.

If you fled the police officer with lights and sirens activated, it is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned as a Level 3 offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. The penalties for this offense are the same as that of the base offense, but the judge will impose punishments towards the higher side.

Fleeing and eluding with lights and sirens activated with high speed or reckless driving is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. The penalties include up to 15 years in prison and up to 15 years of probation along with up to $10,000 in fines. The driver license is also suspended for a minimum period of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years.

If during the chase, you cause serious bodily injury or death, it will be classified as a First Degree Felony and assigned a Level 7 offense under Florida’s law. In such cases, the judge will impose a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 3 years. Additional penalties include up to 30 years in prison and up to 30 years of probation with a maximum of $10,000 in fines. The driver’s license is also suspended for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years.

What to do in case you are charged with Fleeing or Eluding in Florida?

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Fleeing and Eluding a law enforcement officer in Orlando area or Central Florida, you need to contact a Florida criminal traffic defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. A properly prepared defense will result in reduced penalties, reduced charges or their dismissal. Remember, that fleeing or eluding cases are treated very severely by the judges and prosecution and the prosecution will do all its best to prove you guilty of all the offenses you have been charged with. Given the impact it will have on your driver’s license, the possibility of a prison sentence and heavy fines, you should get in touch with a criminal traffic defense lawyer immediately.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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