You are driving on a Georgia road or highway, with all four windows down and the warm, humid Georgia air flowing through your hair. You crank up the music and with not a care in the world, you continue to head to your vacation destination.
You do not have any worries, but you should because a Georgia state trooper is on the left side of your vehicle, with lights flashing, siren blaring.
The state trooper pulls you over and he gets out of the car, visibly angry. He immediately demands you put your hands behind your back and he states you under arrest for the crime of fleeing.
Fleeing, which is otherwise referred to in Georgia as attempting to elude, usually involves a motor vehicle. A driver refuses to pull over when asked to by a law enforcement officer and instead, hits the gas in an attempt to elude. Regardless of how a fleeing incident unfolds, anyone charged with the crime needs expert legal counsel to fight the charge.
The criminal defense lawyers at Greer Tisinger have litigated numerous fleeing cases successfully by using one or more of the most common defenses for the crime. If you face a criminal charge of attempting to elude law enforcement, you should speak with one of our highly criminal defense lawyer to schedule a free initial consultation.
How Georgia Law Defines Attempting to Elude
Georgia penal code O.C.G.A. §40-6-395 defines fleeing this way: “It shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such signal shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle.”
The Georgia legal definition can be summarized by stating the criminal charge of fleeing can be avoided if a driver responds to a law enforcement officer’s visual and/or audible signal to pull over his or her vehicle. Law enforcement officers can use hand, voice, siren, or and/or emergency light signals to alert motorists.
Georgia Punishment for a Fleeing Conviction
Anyone found guilty of attempting to elude in Georgia will receive a misdemeanor conviction that carries with it a high and aggravated label. The penalty for a first time misdemeanor fleeing conviction is a jail sentence between 10 days and 12 months and/or a fine that can range from $500 to $5,000. Second time convictions for fleeing carry a prison sentence of between 30 days and one year, with a possible fine running from $500 to $5,000. The second conviction for attempting to elude must happen within 10 years of the first conviction for the same charge.
The penalty for fleeing can be significantly more severe under the following circumstances:
Possible Defenses to Use for a Fleeing Charge
The criminal defense attorneys at Greer Tisinger that specialize in defending clients against attempting to elude charges can use one of the following defenses:
Physical evidence in the form of a video recording combined with eyewitness testimony can help us defend successfully against a fleeing charge. Prosecutors must prove your guilt “Beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means the judge or jury hearing your case must not hesitate when delivering a verdict of guilty.
Lack of Intent
In the example we used at the start of the page, the driver obviously was unaware of the law enforcement officer’s presence. This means the driver did not intend to flee the scene of the incident. Lack of intent is a powerful defense that we use often when defending clients charged with attempting to elude.
No Probable Cause
Written into the United State Constitution, probable cause means law enforcement officers must have a valid reason to pull over motorists on national roads and highways. One of the first questions we ask law enforcement officers during a fleeing trial is did they have probable cause to request our client to pull over on the side of a road or highway.
Get Highly Skilled Legal Representation
Although a fleeing conviction typically results in just a misdemeanor, the record of the misdemeanor remains on your record. Convictions for any subsequent crimes will ramp up the penalty for the crimes because of the prior misdemeanor conviction for fleeing. If you face an attempting to elude charge, you cannot afford to place your future in the hands of a legal novice.
Take control of your case by contacting the law office of Greer Tisinger. You can reach us by submitting the online contact form or by calling us at 404-566-6635.
When you are facing a challenging situation, you do not need to do it alone. We can help. Turn to Greer Tisinger. To
schedule a free initial consultation, call 770-836-8327 or contact us online.