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Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer

Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer is commonly referred to as "Fleeing and Eluding".

If accused of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer

Under Florida Statute 316.1935, the crime of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer occurs when a person:

  1. Drives a vehicle on a street or highway in Florida;
  2. After a duly authorized law enforcement officer ordered the driver to stop or remain stopped; and
  3. The driver, knowing an order to stop had been given by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, either
    1. Willfully (which means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely) refused or failed to stop the vehicle in compliance with the order; or
    2. Having stopped the vehicle, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude the officer.

In addition to the base charge of Fleeing and Eluding, the Florida legislature has identified aggravating circumstances that progressively increase the penalties for fleeing and eluding, these are:

Lights and Siren Activated

The crime of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer with Lights and Siren Activated has three elements that the State must prove:

  1. The driver was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida;
  2. The driver, knowing an order to stop had been given by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude a law enforcement officer; and
  3. The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated.

Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving

The crime of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving has four elements that the State must prove:

  1. The driver was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida;
  2. The driver, knowing an order to stop had been given by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude a law enforcement officer; and
  3. The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated; and
  4. During the course of the fleeing or the attempt to elude, drove at high speed or in any manner demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death

The crime of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death has five elements that the State must prove:

  1. The driver was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida;
  2. The driver, knowing an order to stop had been given by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude a law enforcement officer;
  3. The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated;
  4. During the course of the fleeing or the attempt to elude, drove at high speed or in any manner demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; and
  5. As a result of the driver fleeing or eluding at high speed or wanton disregard for safety, the driver caused the death of or serious bodily injury to another person or the law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to stop the vehicle.

Penalties for Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer

The penalties for the crime of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer increase based upon whether the officers lights and sirens were on, whether there was a high speed chase, and whether the chase caused Personal Injury or Death.

Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer

The base offense of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer is classified as a Third Degree Felony and assigned a Level 1 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer, a judge is required to adjudicate you guilty and can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Minimum 1 year, maximum 5 years, driver's license suspension.

Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated

Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated is classified as a Third Degree Felony and assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer, a judge is required to adjudicate you guilty and can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Minimum 1 year, maximum 5 years, driver's license suspension.

Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving

Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving is classified as a Second Degree Felony and assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer, a judge is required to adjudicate you guilty and can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Minimum 1 year, maximum 5 years, driver's license suspension.

Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death

Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death is classified as a First Degree Felony and assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Fleeing and Eluding with Lights and Siren Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death, a judge is required to adjudicate you guilty, impose a minimum-mandatory sentence of 3 years imprisonment, and can additionally impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in prison.
  • Up to thirty (30) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Minimum 1 year, maximum 5 years, driver's license suspension.

Defenses to Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer

The defense available to Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer are the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.