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Fleeing to Elude

When people think of fleeing to elude charges, they often think of criminal who are evading law enforcement. High-speed chases often come to mind. However, the charge can be must simpler than that, and average citizens can be victim to it. Motorists may be susceptible to this charge for continuing to drive at any speed after being ordered to stop.

Any charge of fleeing or eluding law enforcement is a felony offense that carries significant consequences. The charges are particularly serious because the court is not allowed to withhold adjudication or impose a suspended or deferred sentence. In other words, any person who enters a plea to the charge will become a convicted felon. A Tallahassee criminal lawyer can help.

Leon County Fleeing to Elude Defense Attorney

If you were charged with felony fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have years of experience handling fleeing to elude cases, and they will use their knowledge to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.

Our law offices serve clients throughout the Florida Panhandle, including those in Tallahassee, Monticello, Crawfordville, Midway and nearby areas. Call (850) 681-7777 to learn more about defenses to the charges and ways to mount an aggressive defense.

Information About Fleeing to Elude Charges in Florida

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Florida’s Felony Fleeing to Elude Statute

In Florida, it is illegal to flee or attempt to flee from a law enforcement officer, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.1935. The statutory scheme provides for two main versions of fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer. It must be proven that:

  • The driver willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle in compliance with the order from a law enforcement officer
  • The driver willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude the law enforcement officer

Under Florida Statute Annotated § 316.1935(2), is must be proven the fleeing to elude occurred when 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 siren and lights were activated.

The traffic offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Related offenses often include leaving the scene of an accident, which also is known as “hit and run,” or disobedience of a police officer under Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.072(3).

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Enhanced Penalties for Fleeing While Driving Recklessly

With fleeing to elude charges, the penalties are enhanced to a second-degree felony if the driver operated the vehicle at a high speed or in a manner demonstrating a disregard for the safety of people or property. It also can be referred to as high speed or reckless fleeing to elude.

When the high speed or reckless driving causes serious bodily injury or death to another, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person’s vehicle, the crime becomes a first-degree felony.

Additionally, upon conviction of the traffic offense the court must impose a driver’s license revocation for a period of not less than one year or more than five years. Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.1935(7) provides that any vehicle driving in a fleeing to elude case is contraband that may be seized by a law enforcement agency and is subject to forfeiture.

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Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude

The statute also provides for enhanced penalties for aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude. The aggravated version of fleeing or attempting to elude requires an additional showing beyond all reasonable doubt of one of the following:

  • Causes injury to another person or causes damage to any property belonging to another person, commits aggravated fleeing or eluding, a felony of the second degree
  • Causes serious bodily injury or death to another person, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person’s vehicle, commits aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death, a felony of the first degree.

A conviction for aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death comes with a three-year minimum mandatory sentence. A three-year minimum mandatory provision means the first three years of the sentence must be served day-for-day in Florida State Prison.

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Additional Resources on Florida’s Fleeing to Elude Statute

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Finding an Attorney for Fleeing or Attempting to Elude

If you were arrested for fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, contact the experienced attorneys at Pumphrey Law. Our attorneys represent clients charged with serious felony traffic offenses throughout Tallahassee and Leon County, as well as the surrounding areas.

Call (850) 681-7777 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case and the best defense.

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