Fleeing and Eluding
When the police believe a crime is being committed, or simply want to question you, they may give you a visible or audible signal to stop. If you fail to obey sirens, lights, or even hand signals, you may be charged with fleeing and eluding. If you have been accused of this crime, it may feel as if you are being punished unfairly. You may not have understood the signals, or perhaps you didn’t even see it because you were distracted.
Chicago traffic offense lawyer Michael O’Meara Law knows how difficult these situations can be. Without proper legal representation, you can find yourself paying large fines and even spending time in jail. With over 20 years of experience in the courtroom, attorney O’Meara has the knowledge and experience to help your case reach the best possible outcome. He will guide you through every step of the criminal justice process, ensuring that you understand your options, including plea agreements and pre-trial hearings.
To find out how you can secure your freedom and avoid a criminal record, call 312-909-0706 today.
Understanding the Offense of Fleeing and Eluding
The crime of fleeing and eluding is taken very seriously in the state of Illinois. A prosecutor may charge you with this crime any time there is evidence that, after a police officer gave you a visual or audible signal to stop or pull over, you:
- Willfully refused to stop
- Increased vehicle speed
- Extinguished your lights
- Fled on foot when being apprehended or questioned
The prosecutor must prove additional elements to reach a criminal conviction. If for example, the officers stopping you are on foot, then they must be in uniform. If the officers are in a car, then both the oscillating lights and the sirens must be activated.
Additionally, you may be charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding if your flight or attempt to elude:
- Is at a rate of 21 miles per hour or more over the speed limit
- Causes bodily injury to any person
- Causes property damage of $300 or more
- Involves ignoring two or more traffic signs or lights
- Involves concealing or altering a license plate
Penalties of Fleeing and Eluding
The criminal penalties for fleeing and eluding depend on the number of prior offenses you have:
- First or Second Offense (Class A misdemeanor) – A fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail
- Third or Subsequent Offense (Class 4 felony): A fine of up to $25,000 and between one and three years in state prison
- Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Class 4 felony) – A fine of up to $25,000 and between one and three years in state prison
Additionally, your driver’s license will be suspended and your vehicle will likely be seized by the police. Your troubles won’t stop once you’ve served your sentence because a conviction carries several collateral consequences, which may include:
- Limited job prospects because of your criminal record
- Loss of your current job because of your suspended license
- Troubles applying to college or university
- Suspension from college if you are currently enrolled
- For felons, inability to own or even possess a firearm
- For non-citizens, possibility of deportation
How O’Meara Law Can Help
If you are being charged with fleeing and eluding a peace officer, you will need the help of a skilled Chicago criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can represent your interests, protect your rights, and use a number of strategies to get your charges dismissed or reduced. For example, it may be possible to prove that you had no idea that you had been asked to stop or remain in one place. Your actions may not have intentionally fled or eluded the police.
While fleeing and eluding is not the most serious crime, it can still lead to lifelong consequences. To get your life back on track, you should enlist the help of Chicago traffic lawyer Michael O’Meara, a former prosecutor with two decades of courtroom experience. At O’Meara Law, we’ve built our reputation on our ability to help our clients come out on top when they confront the criminal justice system.
Call 312-909-0706 now to receive a free case consultation.