Fleeing and Eluding
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Fleeing and Eluding

Florida’s fleeing and eluding statute targets motorists who create high-speed chases in an attempt to escape from the police. Fleeing and eluding is a very serious criminal offense under Florida law. You can incur felony penalties if convicted and have your driver’s license suspended and your vehicle impounded. You must act quickly to avoid the ramifications inherent with a fleeing and eluding conviction in Florida.

Melbourne Fleeing and Eluding Defense Lawyer 

The  Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC deals with a variety of traffic offenses. Fleeing and eluding is much more serious than your average traffic offense because it is a felony offense that is not eligible for deferred adjudication. You need to contact our office at (321) 253-3447 if you have been accused of fleeing and eluding in the Brevard County area including Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne Beach, West Melbourne, Palm Bay and Rockledge.


Florida’s Fleeing and Eluding Statute

Under Section 316.1935, Florida makes it against the law for an individual to:

  1. Operate a motor vehicle
  2. With knowledge that the individual has been ordered to stop
  3. By a legitimate law enforcement officer
  4. Purposefully continues to operate the motor vehicle
  5. Or having stopped the vehicle proceeds to drive away in an attempt to flee or elude the law enforcement officer.

In plain English, this statute forbids individuals from refusing to stop when they know a law enforcement officer commanded them to stop. This offense is categorized as a third-degree felony offense.

In order to get charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, the state must prove that an individual:

  1. Operated a motor vehicle for the purpose of fleeing to elude law enforcement
  2. While siren and lights were activated on a police vehicle
  3. At high rates of speed
  4. With complete disregard for the safety of property or other people.

This aggravated fleeing and eluding offense is categorized as a second-degree felony offense.

There is also a provision for aggravated fleeing and eluding with serious bodily injury. To be found guilty of aggravated fleeing and eluding, the prosecution must show:

  1. An individual who is leaving or attempting to leave
  2. The scene of a crash
  3. Having knowledge of an order to stop
  4. By a legitimate law enforcement officer
  5. Willfully refuses or fails to stop in compliance with such an order
  6. As a result of such fleeing and eluding
  7. Causes injury to another person or causes another person property damage

This aggravated fleeing and eluding with serious bodily injury offense is categorized as a first-degree felony.


Penalties for Fleeing and Eluding

Fleeing and eluding and aggravated fleeing and eluding are felony offenses that carry harsh fines and long prison sentences.

For a third-degree felony fleeing and eluding charge, the punishments can include:

  • A maximum fine of $5000
  • A maximum prison sentence of 5 years

For a second degree felony of aggravated fleeing and eluding the punishments can include:

  • A maximum prison sentence of 15 years
  • A fine of $5000

For a first degree felony of aggravated fleeing and eluding with serious bodily injury, the punishments can include:

  • 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence
  • Up to 30 years in a Florida state prison
  • Restitution

In addition to the fines and prison sentences, the court may revoke your license for up to one year due to a fleeing and eluding conviction.


Defenses to Fleeing and Eluding Charges

It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove the fleeing and eluding case beyond a reasonable doubt. The most common defenses deal with the individual’s knowledge concerning the authority of the police officer or the command to stop.

There are some situations where an individual does not know that a police officer is telling them to stop. For example, if a police officer is in an unmarked vehicle, an individual might not realize that it is a real police officer telling them to pull over.

Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for a person to refuse to comply with a police officer’s orders. If the driver was carrying a hurt individual to a hospital for emergency medical treatment, then that could serve as a possible excuse for not obeying the police order.

You need to contact an experienced Melbourne criminal defense attorney to find out more defenses to a fleeing and eluding charge. Prosecutors tend to aggressively pursue these cases because fleeing and eluding is seen as endangering the lives of police officers and innocent bystanders. You need to explain to your criminal defense attorney the circumstances surrounding why you did not follow the police officer’s order. Your criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on your options and the best strategy to get these felony charges reduced or dismissed.


Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC | Fleeing and Eluding in Brevard County

If you are charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers in Melbourne and the surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC at (321) 253-3447 to receive a consultation about your case. Fleeing and eluding is considered a felony offense in Florida and a conviction comes with heavy penalties. Our Melbourne criminal defense lawyers can assist you with your traffic case.

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