O.C.G.A. 40-6-395 - Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a police officer is among the most serious offenses a person can face. A high and aggravated demeanor, the offense carries a minimum of 10 days in jail even as a first-time offense (although penalties could depend on the specificities of your case and the abilities of your lawyer.) Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer may be charged as a standalone offense, however, it is more commonly charged in conjunction with related offenses. These typically may include reckless driving, DUI or hit and run. Fleeing and eluding may occur because the driver fears they will be charged with DUI or another traffic related offense.
In Georgia Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Can Be a Misdemeanor or a Felony
When is Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Misdemeanor?
According to the statute, you can be charged with misdemeanor fleeing or attempting to elude when a uniformed officer in a marked car tells you to stop driving and you don't stop. Note that this means you cannot be charged with fleeing from an unmarked police car.
The only other part of the statute that is important is that the accused must willfully fail to stop to be convicted. If you were not aware that you were supposed to stop, then you cannot have willfully refused to stop. For example, if you did not see or hear the sirens behind you instructing you to stop, your Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Lawyer in Georgia can argue that you were were not fleeing or eluding.
The Penalty for Misdemeanor Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
A person found guilty of misdemeanor fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The accused will have a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 and a jail term between 30 days and 12 months. Jail time beyond 30 days can be probated by the judge.
A second conviction within ten years will result in a fine between $2,500 and $5,000, a jail term between 90 days and 12 months, or both. Jail terms beyond 90 days can be probated by the judge.
A person convicted for a third time within ten years will face a punishment of jail time between 180 days and 12 months, a fine between $4,000 and $5,000, or both. A jail term beyond 180 days can be probated by the judge.
For misdemeanor offenses, a plea of nolo contendere will constitute a conviction.
Felony Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
A misdemeanor charge will be elevated to a felony fleeing or attempting to elude charge if the driver while fleeing from the officer:
- Operates his or her vehicle in excess of 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit;
- Strikes or collides with another vehicle or a pedestrian;
- Flees in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries;
- Leaves the state; or
- Commits a violation of
- Failing to stop when entering road from alley, driveway or building under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144;
- Unlawfully passes a school bus under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-163;
- Laying drags under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-251;
- Reckless driving under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390. or
- Driving under the influence under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390.1
The Penalty for Felony Fleeing or Attempting to Elude
A person convicted for a fourth or subsequent time within ten years will be charged with felony fleeing or eluding and face a punishment of prison time between 12 months and 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $10,000, or both. For felony charges, the sentence may not be probated, deferred, or withheld, and the charge may not be reduced to a lesser offense, merged with any other offense, or served concurrently with any other offense.
Due to the severity of penalties you could be facing when charged with fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia, it is vital that you contact our Georgia Fleeing or Eluding Lawyers now.
This subsection of O.C.G.A. 40-6-395 also holds that it shall be unlawful for a person:
(1) To impersonate a sheriff, deputy sheriff, state trooper, agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police officer, or any other authorized law enforcement officer by using a motor vehicle or motorcycle designed, equipped, or marked so as to resemble a motor vehicle or motorcycle belonging to any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency; or
(2) Otherwise to impersonate any such law enforcement officer in order to direct, stop, or otherwise control traffic.
There is hope if you have been charged with Fleeing or Eluding in Georgia. Often times, the defendant is not, in fact, guilty as charged. They simply may not have seen the officer or other factors may have been at play preventing the defendant from stopping. A skilled attorney can help you determine the best defense in your case.
Any misdemeanor or criminal case requires the devoted attention of an experienced attorney. Hall County DUI attorney Richard Lawson is equipped with over 20 years experience defending Georgians against traffic and related offenses. A conviction of any sort could potentially wreak havoc on your life or career and Richard Lawson understands the fear, uncertainty, and confusion that accompany these type of charges.
If you have been charged with Fleeing and Eluding or DUI with a Fleeing and Eluding charge in Georgia, contact a Hall County DUI Attorney today for immediate legal attention. We are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year because your problems need immediate attention.