What is Fleeing and Eluding?
Under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement occurs when any driver of a motor vehicle:
“willfully fails or refuses to bring his vehicle to a stop, or who otherwise flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer, when given a visual and audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop” Title 75 § Pa. Code § 3733(a) (2019).
What constitutes as a signal by law enforcement?
A signal by a police officer could be by, “hand, voice, emergency lights or siren” Title 75 § Pa. Code § 3733(b) (2019). For example, a police officer could wave at a driver to pull to the side of the road, and the officer’s hand signal would constitute as a signal. If the driver were to ignore that signal, and keep driving, it would create a fleeing and eluding situation. The same thing occurs if the police officer yells for someone to pull over.
What is the grading of fleeing and eluding?
Typically fleeing and eluding, “is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Any driver upon conviction shall pay an additional fine of $500. This fine shall be in addition to and not in lieu of all other fines, court expenses, jail sentences or penalties.” Title 75 § Pa. Code § 3733(a.2) (1) (2019).
Fleeing and eluding is a felony of the third degree, is the driver if fleeing during any of the following:
“(i) commits a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance);
(ii) crosses a State line; or
(iii) endangers a law enforcement officer or member of the general public due to the driver engaging in a high-speed chase.” Title 75 § Pa. Code § 3733(a.2) (2) (2019).
One of the clear defenses to fleeing and eluding is that the police vehicle was no clearly marked as a law enforcement vehicle or if the vehicle was unmarked, it was not occupied by an officer in uniform. Title 75 § Pa. Code § 3733(c) (1) (2019).
Further, “if the defendant can show by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure to stop immediately for a police officer’s vehicle was based upon a good faith concern for personal safety. In determining whether the defendant has met this burden, the court may consider the following factors:
(i) The time and location of the event.
(ii) The type of police vehicle used by the police officer.
(iii) The defendant’s conduct while being followed by the police officer.
(iv) Whether the defendant stopped at the first available reasonably lighted or populated area.
(v) Any other factor considered relevant by the court.” Title 75 § Pa. Code § 3733(c) (2) (2019).
How can the Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo Help?
The effects of being charged with fleeing and eluding can ripple through your life, between your right to drive to your pocket. The attorneys at the Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo are here to help you navigate your best options and will work with you every step of the way. If you or a loved one is facing fleeing and eluding charge, please contact our office for a free consultation.