Top Oakland Criminal Defense Lawyers
There is nothing more stressful than driving down a California road and suddenly seeing the flashing lights of a police car behind you and hearing that telltale siren. It is natural to want to escape the situation, even if you have not done anything wrong. However, no driver should ever do this. The consequences of fleeing and eluding a police officer are serious and while there are defenses available, it can make a bad situation even worse. If you have been charged with failing to stop for a police officer, contact one of the top Oakland criminal defense lawyers at The Hallinan Law Firm.
Requirements Under the Law
Both police officers and motorists have obligations before and during a traffic stop. Under state law, drivers are required to stop their vehicle when a police officer alerts them to do so through an audible or visual signal. That signal can be in the form of a hand or voice command, a siren, or through red or blue lights.
Police officers, on the other hand, are only allowed to signal drivers to pull over when they are in police uniform. If the officer is driving a vehicle at the time, they must indicate that they are in an official police vehicle. This can be done through flashing or oscillating red and blue lights, along with a horn or siren that is easily heard.
Penalties for Fleeing and Eluding Police
Although fleeing and eluding a police officer is considered a misdemeanor, it still comes with harsh consequences. The maximum penalties a person could face include up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Individuals charged are also responsible for paying any court costs associated with their case.
In more serious cases, an individual can be charged with a felony and a conviction brings with it even harsher penalties than a misdemeanor conviction. A felony lawyer Oakland, CA clients recommend can explain what those penalties may be in your particular case.
Defenses to Fleeing and Eluding the Police
Facing charges of fleeing and eluding the police is scary, but there are defenses available. These include:
- No intent: If you were not aware that the police were asking you to pull over, you cannot be charged with a crime.
- Mistaken identity: This is a viable defense for most crimes, but it is especially effective with charges that involve fleeing the police. When the motorist does escape the police, law enforcement will find the owner of the vehicle. If you are the owner of the vehicle but was not driving at the time, you cannot be charged with the crime.
- Threats: This defense can work if someone else was in the vehicle with you or communicating with you through a phone or other device, and they were threatening to harm you if you pulled over.
Charged with Fleeing the Police? Call Our Firm Today
Fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer is one of the most serious traffic offenses in California. If you have been charged, call our skilled top Oakland criminal defense lawyers at The Hallinan Law Firm. Our attorneys know how to defend against these charges to give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call today to schedule your free consultation.