There are serious consequences involved for those who fail to stop their motor vehicle when requested to by a Florida law enforcement officer, especially if the situation is serious enough to be classed as aggravated fleeing to elude. Fleeing or attempting to elude authorized law enforcement patrol vehicles becomes aggravated when your action of fleeing puts other people at risk of death or serious injury.
The fleeing action of the accused does not need to be a high-caliber car chase to result in aggravated fleeing charges. If the police officer believes you have shown wanton disregard for the safety of those around them, or even their property, you may be charged with a felony.
Due to the life-altering impacts of receiving a guilty charge for a felony, anybody accused of aggravated fleeing and eluding should seek the assistance of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Here at The Law Place in St. Petersburg, FL., our defense lawyer team has a total of 75 combined years of experience defending and lowering the consequences of those accused of serious traffic crimes.
To find out more, call our law firm at any time of the day or night to secure a free consultation at no obligation. Our contact telephone number is (941) 444-4444!
The Law Surrounding Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer in Florida
The laws surrounding fleeing and eluding an authorized law enforcement officer are contained within Florida Statute 316.1935. This states that the following relevant factors must be proven with a burden of proof that lies beyond a level of reasonable doubt in order for the defendant to be found guilty of aggravated fleeing or eluding:
- The defendant was driving a motor vehicle that was involved in a car accident or otherwise ordered to stop by duly authorized law enforcement.
- The defendant was driving the motor vehicle during the time in which an accident occurred, resulting in serious property damage, injury, or death.
- The defendant was either aware or should have been aware that the accident occurred.
- The defendant was also aware that the accident caused property damage, bodily injury, or death to another person.
- The defendant deliberately failed to stop the vehicle and remain still at the scene of the accident, as per their legal obligation.
- The defendant did not follow their legal obligation to assist an accident victim who was suffering from a serious bodily injury or death.
- The defendant received an order from duly authorized law enforcement to stop their vehicle and refused.
- The defendant was in full awareness of the fact they were ordered to stop by a police officer.
- The defendant carried out reckless or high-speed driving while eluding a law enforcement officer, which demonstrated a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
If the prosecution is unable to prove all of the above factors, which are applicable in the defendant’s case of aggravated fleeing or eluding, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will very likely be able to get the charges held against them diminished in severity, if not dropped entirely.
For the best chance of securing a criminal defense attorney who can fight these charges, you need to choose a respectable law firm like The Law Place in St. Petersburg. To find out more, give us a call any time for a free consultation, which will be entirely confidential!
How Aggravated Fleeing or Eluding Charges Are Usually Downgraded
If the criminal defense attorney of the defendant is successful in questioning the aggravated fleeing or eluding charges in the ways mentioned above, there are several ways these criminal charges may be made less serious.
It is possible that the aggravation can be dropped from the charge, and the charge will go through as regular fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer. While this charge is still serious, it is highly preferable to an aggravated charge.
Or, in even better circumstances, it may be possible to get an aggravated fleeing or eluding charge lowered to one of simple reckless driving.
Finally, it is not unheard of for aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement charges to be dropped entirely. For the best chances of achieving this, act fast and secure a highly experienced lawyer to get to work on a strong case as quickly as possible.
The Legal Consequences of Fleeing and Eluding an Authorized Law Enforcement Officer in Florida
There are several different levels of felony conviction possible when a person drives at high speed and demonstrates a wanton disregard for persons or property while fleeing or eluding a police officer. The level of severity will depend on the individual factors in play.
The most likely result, as long as no actual bodily injuries were inflicted while fleeing the scene of an accident, is a second-degree felony charge. The penalties for this may include the following:
- Up to 15 years in prison.
- A fine of up to $10,000.
- Forfeiture of the motor vehicle involved.
- Revocation of the accused’s driver’s license.
- A felony charge which is permanently visible on the accused’s criminal record.
However, if a serious bodily injury or death is caused to another person during the crime of fleeing and attempting to elude the authorized law enforcement officer, the result will likely be a first-degree felony.
As well as everything listed above, a first-degree felony may result in:
- Up to 30 years in prison.
- A 3-year minimum mandatory prison sentence.
However, if your criminal defense attorney manages to get your aggravated charge dropped to a regular charge of fleeing or eluding, the result will likely only be a third-degree felony. While still a serious criminal offense, the penalties for fleeing are less harsh and may include:
- Up to 5 years in prison.
- An additional 5 years of probation alongside the 5-year prison sentence.
- A fine of up to $5,000.
- Driver’s license suspension.
- A mark on your permanent criminal record that states you are a convicted felon.
As you can see, any downgrading of the criminal charges for the crime of fleeing a law enforcement officer will make a difference – especially when it comes to long, mandatory prison sentences and huge fines. For the best chance at reducing your penalties, you need to act fast and talk to a skilled lawyer like those from our law firm today!
For more information on the fines involved in the various levels of felony crimes, details can be found within Florida Statute 775.083.
A Note on the Consequences of Becoming a Convicted Felon
It is incredibly important to take all the steps possible to avoid becoming a felon. This is because, as soon as someone commits a felony, it becomes part of their criminal record forever. Even with the most skilled criminal defense team money can buy, there is no way in which a felony can legally be removed, sealed, or expunged from your record. This can seriously hinder your ability to live a normal life from that point onwards.
The consequences of receiving a third-degree, second-degree, or first-degree felony on your permanent record include:
- Lowered employment and earning prospects, as all employers will be able to view your record.
- Less chance of obtaining credit or mortgage lendings.
- Additional complications in future interactions with the court, including things such as custody battles.
- Problems receiving specialized licenses or permits.
As such, you should do everything in your power to avoid a felony conviction. For the best chances, act now and contact our law firm for a free consultation.
Common Defenses for Those Accused of Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer
The best defenses for those accused of fleeing or eluding will be personalized to the specifics of the case at hand, as is our policy at The Law Place. However, there are several proven precedents that can help to get charges downgraded or dropped, which we will work into your defense to give you the most solid case possible.
Common defenses for fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer include:
- The defendant was not deliberate in their intention to attempt to elude the police officer.
- The defendant was entirely unaware of the fact any property damage or injury to another person occurred.
- The accused failed to see the police officer who was attempting to pull them over.
- The accused was unable to pull over due to individual circumstances, road conditions, or environmental hazards.
Additionally, for an officer to have the power to stop the vehicle in Florida, they must adhere strictly to legal protocols. These include:
- Driving an official law enforcement patrol vehicle, which must have all of its jurisdictional markings, including the agency insignia prominently displayed.
- The law enforcement vehicle, upon requesting the stop, must have its siren and lights activated.
- The law enforcement officers must have all parts of their full official uniform correct and prominently displayed.
It may sound unlikely, but many police officers are often sloppy, negligent, or overstep their boundaries when conducting traffic stops. For something as simple as failing to activate their lights and sirens, evidence may become inadmissible, and you may be given an opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of your accused actions.
For the best chances of ensuring that every detail of your traffic stop is fully inspected and interrogated for its legality, you need the help of a lawyer who has extensive experience and knows exactly what they are doing. Luckily, the team of attorneys over at The Law Place is exactly this, with over 75 years of experience of helping people your exact position between them!
How to Handle Being Pulled Over By Undercover Police Officers
As mentioned above, the police vehicle, when requesting that you stop, must follow a number of stringent requirements for the traffic stop to be legal.
This means that undercover or plainclothes police officers are unable to conduct a traffic stop unless they fully utilize their sirens, lights, and are clearly wearing clothing and insignias that indicate that they are officially law enforcement. In fact, undercover police are actually prohibited from undertaking traffic stops in almost all situations.
As such, somebody who fails to stop for a plainclothes officer who does not have their siren and lights activated cannot be charged with fleeing or eluding.
What Is the Cost of Legal Representation From The Law Place?
Unfortunately, due to the fact that every fleeing to elude law enforcement case is different, it is impossible to give you a fixed price for legal representation. This is because the legal fees will vary based on the severity of the crime, the individual details, your past criminal record, and other factors.
However, here at The Law Place, we are fully committed to transparency and honesty for all of our clients. As such, following your free consultation and case evaluation, we will lay out the entire cost of the process in full before you are obliged to make any kind of commitment, with no extra fees or hidden surprises. If you are unable to pay upfront, we can work out a personalized payment plan which is tailored to your financial needs.
It is worth remembering that between the lost income of jail time, the astronomical fines, and the severe earning impacts of receiving a felony conviction, it is far preferable to pay for an experienced lawyer now than to continue paying for the rest of your life.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been accused of an aggravated attempt to elude law enforcement officials, you need to act fast to stand the best chance of avoiding serious consequences such as decades of potential jail time, huge fines, and minimum mandatory prison sentences.
Luckily, the lawyers at The Law Place have a track record of helping people just like you to get the severity of their convictions reduced or even their cases dropped entirely. Our lawyers have the dedication, skills, and tenacity to build you the strongest case possible for your situation.
We are happy to offer every prospective client a free consultation over the telephone at absolutely no obligation. Our phone lines are always open, and every conversation is covered by the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship.
For more information, get in touch today by calling (941) 444-4444!