Fleeing and eluding law enforcement is a criminal offense in Clearwater. Fleeing to elude is leaving the scene after causing an accident or refusing to pull over when ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer.
A typical misunderstanding of fleeing to elude is that it involves a high-speed car chase, but this is rarely the case. Even people driving at normal or low speeds can be charged with fleeing to elude simply for not pulling over, perhaps because the police officer’s call to “stop” wasn’t clear enough.
If you are charged with fleeing to elude in Clearwater, then you may be facing felony charges and severe penalties. Because of this, it’s important that you seek strong legal representation. Having a Clearwater-based criminal defense lawyer on your side can be vital in maintaining your future and freedom. At The Law Place, our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with the Florida legal system and cases just like yours, so you can trust that working with our lawyers will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so contact us now to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney. We will look over the details of your case and give advice on what your best options are. Call us at (941) 444-4444.
How is Fleeing to Elude Defined in Clearwater, Florida?
Under Florida Statute 316.1935, you are considered to have committed the crime of fleeing to elude if you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and one of the following circumstances occurs:
- You failed or refused to stop or pullover when a law enforcement officer told you to do so.
- You chose to flee, either in your vehicle or on foot, from a pursuing police officer.
- You initially stopped your vehicle but then wilfully drove away from the law enforcement officer.
If you were involved in any of the above situations, then you will be facing a third-degree felony charge at least. This is a serious offense, and so we strongly encourage you to get in touch with our law firm so that our Florida criminal defense attorneys can fight on your behalf for your freedom. Don’t put your future at risk; contact The Law Place today to book a free consultation.
What Is Aggravated Fleeing to Elude in Clearwater, Florida?
You may be charged with aggravated fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer if you drove recklessly or incited a high-speed pursuit with a complete disregard for the safety of others. This puts another person, or multiple people, in danger of serious bodily injury or even death. You could still face aggravated fleeing to elude charges even if your actions did not result in actual serious bodily injury or death. An aggravated fleeing to elude charge is a first or second-degree felony, which can bring incredibly severe penalties.
If you think you may be charged with aggravated fleeing to elude, either because you engaged in a high-speed chase with a wanton disregard for the safety of others, drove recklessly, or caused actual serious bodily injury, then you should think about securing representation by a skilled and well-equipped lawyer. If convicted, a second-degree felony conviction could have a serious and lasting impact on your life.
By working with The Law Place, you can be assured that our highly experienced attorneys will fight tirelessly to have your charges reduced, if not dismissed, and ensure that you face only the most lenient penalties. Find out exactly how we can help and what to expect by calling The Law Place today.
Is Fleeing to Elude a Felony in Clearwater, Florida?
It is classified as a felony offense to flee to elude a law enforcement officer, but it completely depends upon the circumstances of your case as to whether you are charged with a third, second, or first-degree felony.
Third-degree offenses are the least severe, although still serious, with second and first-degree offenses resulting in more serious charges.
You may be charged with fleeing to elude in the second degree if:
- You displayed a blatant disregard for public safety.
- You are driving away from a clearly marked police vehicle with its lights and sirens activated.
You may be charged with fleeing to elude in the first degree if:
- You committed an act of reckless driving.
- Another person suffered from serious bodily injury or death as a result of your actions.
In order to avoid the most severe penalties, it is crucial to get in touch with a qualified criminal defense attorney to give yourself the best chance at being charged with the most lenient penalties of a third-degree felony, if one at all.
What Are the Penalties for Fleeing to Elude in Clearwater, Florida?
Like with all crimes, the penalties that you face are completely dependent on the specific circumstances that surround your case. A big impact on the sentence you may receive is also whether you are charged with a first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree offense.
If you are successfully convicted of fleeing to elude in Clearwater, then you can expect to face the following penalties:
- Third-degree felony charge – 5-year driver’s license suspension, $5,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison, and a 5 year period of probation.
- Second-degree felony charge – 5-year driver’s license suspension, $10,000 fine, up to 15 years in prison, and a 15-year period of probation.
- First-degree felony charge – 5-year driver’s license suspension, $30,000 fine, up to 30 years in prison, and a 30-year period of probation.
Even though the penalties you face when charged with a third-degree felony are the most lenient, they are still very harsh. It will also leave you with a felony charge on your criminal record and the label of a felon. This can have a detrimental impact on your chances when you apply for jobs, loans, licenses, and more in the future.
This is why our Clearwater criminal defense lawyers want to help you avoid them. At The Law Place, our attorneys possess the experience, knowledge, and skill to fight for your case and work tirelessly on your behalf to minimize the impact that this charge has on your life. So, contact us today to book a free consultation and give yourself the best chance at securing the outcome you hope for.
What Legal Defenses Are Available in My Case?
Because of how detrimental the impact of a fleeing to elude conviction would be to your life, good, solid legal defense is crucial.
A criminal defense attorney from The Law Place would be well-equipped to build a strong defense against your case and to support this defense. They will look for any errors in your case, such as the following:
- The stop was not clearly communicated to you by the law enforcement officer.
- You were not aware that there had been an active police order for you to stop.
- You did not have the actual intent to flee.
- There were circumstances that meant you were not able to stop, and so you did not willfully flee to elude the law enforcement officer.
- The police motor vehicle was not clearly marked, and/or the law enforcement officer was not using their lights and sirens.
- You were not aware that you caused any property damage, bodily injury, or death in the case of aggravated fleeing to elude.
- You were not aware that the request to stop was from a law enforcement officer or the vehicle was not clearly marked.
- You were afraid or wary of pulling over in the area you were in, for whatever reason, and so planned to drive to a safer place before doing so.
It is important you inform your attorney of every little detail that happened during your arrest, even if it seems trivial, as it may prove essential in building a defense for your case. Your lawyer may also be able to have the charges you’re facing reduced to “disobedience to police or fire department officials.” Under Florida Statute 316.072, this is categorized as a second-degree misdemeanor, meaning that it is much less serious, and you would face less severe penalties if charged with this instead.
However, in order to get your charges reduced to this, you will need the help of an experienced Clearwater-based lawyer. Our attorneys at The Law Place are more than qualified to help you and fight on your behalf in court, so be sure to call us today to schedule your free consultation.
Why Should You Hire an Attorney?
While you can represent yourself in court if you wish to, it is highly recommended that you get in touch with a law firm if you have been arrested for fleeing from a law enforcement officer. This is because you have a much better chance of securing a favorable outcome if you have legal support from the very start.
The Florida legal system is very complicated, and for people who are not experienced with it, it is very easy to implicate yourself if you speak to law enforcement before speaking to an attorney and receive legal advice. Always remember that it is one of your constitutional rights to consult with a lawyer before speaking to anyone.
It is completely legal for a law enforcement officer to lie to you in order to try and manipulate information out of you, whether it’s false or not, and to try and get you to plead guilty. They may tell you that they have evidence against you when they don’t, to scare you, or say they have witnesses when they actually don’t. This is because if you plead guilty before going to court, the process is much quicker and simpler for them. Many suspects plead guilty, sometimes even if they aren’t, because they have been made to feel as if they have no other options. However, this is not the truth, as everyone who has been arrested and charged with a serious crime has many viable options.
Hiring an attorney can be the difference between a negative and positive outcome in your case, so you must get in touch with The Law Place as soon as possible.
Call The Law Place Now!
We understand how stressful facing felony charges can be, especially because of how severe the penalties you face are. But you should bear in mind that you have the right to a fair trial, and you should expect a fair outcome at the end of it.
The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place can help you during this trial. We will prioritize your case and fight aggressively for your charges to be dropped or reduced. Our lawyers will be able to support you throughout this chaotic time of your life, helping you through every stage of the process, from menial paperwork to building a solid defense to representing you in court and securing your freedom.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact us at any time if you are facing charges for fleeing to elude in Clearwater or elsewhere in Florida.
Call us now to schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.