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Evading a Police Officer in California

The California Vehicle Code 2800.1 states that it is illegal for anyone to evade a police officer that is trying to pull them over. There are certain elements of this crime the prosecution must be able to prove before the accused can be proven guilty of the crime. Those elements, or others, can also be used in a person’s defense when they have been charged with this crime.

Elements of Evading a Police Officer

The first element the prosecution must prove is that the police officer was driving a vehicle while trying to pull the accused over. The officer’s vehicle does not have to be a car, it can also be a bicycle.

The second element that must be proven, is that the person being pulled over must have also been in a motor vehicle at the time.

The other elements of the crime that must be proven pertain to being able to identify the police officer as a member of law enforcement. The first states that they must have had at least one lit red lamp on the front of their vehicle, and the accused must have seen, or should have been able to see, the light.

In addition to lights, the officer must have also sounded a siren to signal that they wanted the accused to pull over. This does not necessarily have to be the siren on a police car, a horn or other signal could also be used, particularly if the officer was riding a bicycle at the time. The police officer’s vehicle must also be easily identifiable as a law enforcement vehicle.

Lastly, the officer themselves must have also been wearing a distinctive uniform. This does not always mean a full police uniform, but rather, something to identify them as a police officer. A baseball hat or bulletproof vest with the word "POLICE" on it are often enough to fulfill this element of proof.

Penalties for Evading a Police Officer

Evading a police officer is considered a misdemeanor offense in California. However, while it is not as serious as a felony, it can still carry some fairly severe consequences.

A person convicted of this crime could expect to be placed on misdemeanor, or summary, probation. As part of this probation, a judge may also suspend their driver’s license for the duration of that probation period. The vehicle used to flee the officer will also likely be impounded for up to 30 days.

Other penalties for committing this crime include up to one year in county jail, as well as a fine up to $1,000.

If the vehicle being driven at the time of evading a police officer was a commercial vehicle, the driver could face a one-year suspension of their commercial driver’s license. And if someone is convicted of this crime more than once, their commercial driver’s license could be taken away permanently.

Getting the Needed Legal Defense

Like any crime, being charged with evading a police officer in California can be a scary thing. However, there are defenses available. A qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney can look at the facts of your case and build you the best defense possible, so that one mistake doesn’t follow you around for the rest of your life.

If you have been charged with evading a police officer, call JD Law at (760) 630-2000 today. Attorney Dicks is a board-certified criminal defense specialist who will fight hard to ensure your rights are upheld at all times.

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James N. Dicks

About James N. Dicks

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