Fleeing and eluding anywhere in the State of Florida is taken to be a serious offense. Fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer can result in penalties that could have a permanent detriment to your future life if the circumstances surrounding your charge are severe enough.
As Americans, we have been conditioned by decades of television to believe that attempting to elude a law enforcement officer takes the form of a high-speed car chase that shows wanton disregard for the possibility of serious bodily injury or death. However, this is not always the case. You can be charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer simply by failing to stop your vehicle when ordered.
If you have been charged with fleeing and eluding, whether it involved a high-speed pursuit and serious bodily injury or not, it is vital that you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you possibly can manage. This will be essential in securing you the best possible result in terms of the severity of the consequences for your charge. With the right representation, your penalties can be reduced, or you could even have the case against you dropped entirely.
The Law Place in Florida has a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers who have amassed over 75 years of practicing experience in both criminal and traffic law. If you have been charged with willfully fleeing or attempt to flee a law enforcement officer in Florida, you should contact us today. We can offer a free consultation on the telephone around the clock.
Call for free on (941) 444-4444 today!
The Laws Surrounding Fleeing to Elude in Florida
The laws surrounding fleeing or attempt to flee and elude a law enforcement officer in Florida are contained in Florida Statute 316.1935.
To prove someone was fleeing or attempting to elude, the prosecution must demonstrate beyond a level of reasonable doubt that the defendant was:
- Driving the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
- The accident resulted in damage to persons or property.
- The defendant was aware of the damage.
- The defendant willfully failed in their legal duty to stop, and a third-party received a serious bodily injury or died in the accident.
- A law enforcement officer ordered the defendant to stop.
- The defendant was entirely aware of the command from the law enforcement officer and willfully chose to ignore it.
In these cases, the responsibility for evidence lies with the prosecution, as it is a criminal case. If your lawyer can contest any of these points, they stand a chance at getting your fleeing to elude charges diminished or dropped entirely.
What Are the Consequences for Willfully Fleeing to Elude in Florida?
If the prosecution successfully convicts you of willfully fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer in Florida, you will be looking at least a third-degree felony. If you put other people at risk of harm because of your driving, this can be increased to a second-degree or even third-degree felony.
The punishments for a third-degree felony charge of fleeing to elude in Florida are as follows:
- A prison sentence of up to 5 years.
- An additional 5 years spent under probation.
- A fine that caps out at $5,000.
- Forfeiture of your vehicle.
- Revocation of your driving license for between 1 and 5 years.
- A criminal record displaying your third-degree felony for life. No attorney will be able to get this record expunged or sealed in any way.
What About Aggravated Fleeing in Florida?
A simple charge of fleeing to elude is not the worst possible consequence for failing to stop for a law enforcement officer. If you are involved in a high-speed pursuit, show wanton disregard for other people, or inflict actual bodily death or serious bodily injury, you could be charged with aggravated fleeing.
Aggravated fleeing is a second-degree felony charge. However, this will be upgraded from a second-degree to a first-degree felony if the aggravated fleeing incurred a degree of serious bodily injury or the death of another person.
The penalties for a case of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer are as severe as follows:
- A period of imprisonment for up to 15 years. This could go as high as 30 years if you have inflicted actual serious bodily harm or death.
- Fines that could go as high as $10,000.
- Forfeiture of your personal motor vehicle.
- The revocation of your driving license for a period of between 1 and 5 years.
- A criminal record displaying your first or second-degree felony for life. No attorney will be able to get this record expunged or sealed through any means.
Possible Defenses in a Florida Fleeing to Elude Case
There are many possible defenses for fleeing to elude that have previously worked in the courts of Florida.
A non-exhaustive list of these possible defenses would include:
- The fleeing or eluding of law enforcement was unintentional.
- The defendant was completely unaware of any damage that may have been inflicted on persons or property.
- The law enforcement officer pulling the defendant over was, in fact, not visible in any way.
- There were other circumstances that prevented the defendant from feeling safe enough to pull their vehicle over. This may be due to environmental hazards or dark and unsafe surroundings.
Not only this, but there are also additional requirements that must be fulfilled by the law enforcement officer issuing the stop in order for it to be valid. The specifics of this for Florida law enforcement officers are as follows:
- The vehicle issuing the stop must be an official Florida police patrol vehicle that has on clear display all of its relevant jurisdictional markings and police agency insignia.
- The vehicle must have made use of both the lights and the sirens in their attempt to stop the defendant.
- The officers contained in the official Florida police patrol vehicle must be in full and official law enforcement uniform.
If the police officers who attempted to stop your vehicle failed in their duty to stick to these parameters, this represents a significant avenue that your criminal defense attorney can exploit for your defense.
Personalizing Your Defense
While we have just provided you with a list of common things used to defend someone accused of fleeing to elude, a good lawyer will always base their defense around the specifics of their client’s case.
This is why The Law Place will never go into court without conducting a thorough examination of the details surrounding your arrest and case in general. This will begin during your free consultation, case evaluation, and several interviews and investigative sessions fully covered and protected by attorney-client confidentiality.
The best defense will always incorporate elements that are specific to your case, and you should not accept representation from those who are not prepared to offer this level of personalization.
When to Seek Representation?
The best time to seek representation from a high-quality criminal defense lawyer is right now.
The less time you waste, the better. The longer your criminal defense attorney has to build you a solid case based on the details you share and their own investigation, the greater the chance you stand at reduced consequences or the possibility of a dismissed case.
In addition to this, law enforcement officers are slippery. They have legal permission to attempt to trick you into disclosing self-implicating information by any means necessary. They are able to and are encouraged to lie to you and deceive you if possible to secure the evidence necessary for a successful conviction. Having a lawyer present for every step of your legal journey can help you avoid these pitfalls as well as the other complications associated with the complexities of Florida’s criminal and traffic laws.
How Much Will Representation by The Law Place Cost Me?
Unfortunately, without the specific details of your case, it is impossible to give you an exact figure right here as to how much legal representation would cost in your position.
However, what we can offer is full disclosure following your free consultation with absolutely no obligation. Trust is at the heart of what we do here at The Law Place, and, for that reason, we ensure full transparency of our legal fees. You will be told exactly how much your representation will cost, and we can guarantee no hidden fees or surprising extra costs.
Many people are put off high-quality legal representation because of the cost. However, with the levels of fines involved in these charges and the fact that you will be looking at a felony charge, representation is very worthwhile. As a felon, you will find it more difficult to find a competitively paid and worthwhile job. Not to mention a whole host of other complications concerning housing, credit, licensing, education, and more.
If you feel like you may struggle to afford the level of representation we can offer, we also offer the opportunity to sit down together and work out a payment plan that will suit you.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been involved in accusations of fleeing to elude or aggravated fleeing to elude with wanton disregard for the safety of others, get in touch with The Law Place in Florida today.
We are able to offer you a free, no-obligation telephone consultation at any time of the day or night. Everything you disclose will remain legally confidential.
It may seem hopeless when you are facing down a felony charge, especially as many of the consequences will follow you for the rest of your life if you are successfully convicted by the prosecution. However, we have helped many in your exact position before.
If you would like the best chance of having the charges against you either dismissed or dropped, call (941) 444-4444 today.