Evading a police officer is a serious crime in California. If convicted, you will face a period of incarceration, stiff fines, and a criminal record. However, people are often charged with evading a police officer when they didn’t even know they were being pursued or ordered to pull over. When this is the case, you are not guilty of evading under California law.
The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian know all of the defenses to an evading charge and will employ them in defense of your freedom and future. If you have been charged with evading a peace officer in California, call an experienced California defense attorney at 855-918-4253 to arrange an initial free consultation.
California Vehicle Code 2800.1
Under CVC 2800.1, evading a peace officer, also simply referred to as “evading”, can be explained as willfully fleeing or attempting to evade a police officer who is trying to pull you over in your motor vehicle. This could arise, for example, because you didn’t pull over quick enough, or as a result of a high-speed chase.
Under CVC 2800.1(a), to be convicted of evading a peace officer, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You were operating a motor vehicle; and
- You willfully fled or attempted to evade a peace officer under the following conditions:
- The police car was flashing one of its forward-facing lights
- The police car’s siren was on
- The police car was distinctively marked as a police car
- The car was being driven by a police officer
In other words, it had to have been obvious to you that the car following you or indicating that you should pullover was a police car.
If convicted of evading in California, you will face a number of penalties, including:
- Stiff fines; and
- A criminal record
Evading is a Misdemeanor offense under CVC 2800.1, punishable by up to 1 year in a county jail, a fine of up to $1000, and a permanent criminal record if convicted.
Recklessly Evading a Peace Officer – CVC 2800.2
If when committing the crime of evading (as described under CVC 2800.1), you do so in a manner that places others at risk of being injured or killed (willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property), the offense may be charged as either Felony or Misdemeanor reckless evading.
If you are convicted of either a Misdemeanor or Felony reckless evading under CVC 2800.2, you will face, amongst other things, a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days and up to 365 days in a county jail, as well as, a period of Probation. If convicted of Felony reckless evading you will be facing up to 3 years in a state prison.
Reckless evading is a very serious charge because it indicates to the state that evading the police was more important to you than the well-being of others around you.
Evading a Peace Officer Causing Injury or Death – CVC 2800.3
The crime of evading becomes even more serious if while committing the offense, you cause someone to be injured or killed. If you are convicted of a Misdemeanor under CVC 2800.3 for causing someone to be injured while evading a peace officer, you will face, amongst other things, up to 1 year in a county jail, as well as, a period of Probation.
If convicted of a Felony for causing someone to be injured while evading a peace officer, you will be looking at 3, 5, or 7 years in a state prison and/or a fine of $2000-$10,000. Moreover, if while committing the offense, you cause someone to be killed, you can be convicted of a Felony, punishable by 4, 6, or 10 years in a state prison and a potential fine of $2000-$10,000.
Evading a Peace Officer By Driving In The Opposite Direction Of Traffic – CVC 2800.4
Under CVC 2800.4, if when committing the crime of evading (as described under CVC 2800.1), you do so by driving your car in the opposite direction of traffic or into oncoming traffic, you will face, amongst other things, a minimum of 6 months to 1 year in jail, and/or a fine of $1000 – $10,000 when convicted.
Defending an Evading Charge in California
To convict you of evading, the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Consequently, a typical defense will contend that the prosecutor has not satisfied this burden.
Put simply, if the prosecution cannot prove, for example, that you intentionally evaded or attempted to evade law enforcement, or that you knew the person attempting to pull you over was a police officer, or that you knew that you were being ordered to pull over, the charge may be dismissed.
Similarly, if it can be satisfactorily demonstrated, for example, that you did not evade recklessly, or attempt to do so by driving into oncoming traffic, the severity of the charge may be reduced.
Contact The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian
Law enforcement has the right to pull you over if they have a valid reason to do so. If you knowingly evade or attempt to evade law enforcement when they are trying to pull you over, you may be charged with evading a peace officer.
It is always a good idea to comply with law enforcement’s request to stop or pullover, even if you think you have done nothing wrong. If you are ultimately arrested and charged with a crime, you have the right to call a criminal defense lawyer to assist you with the charge.
If you have been charged with evading a peace officer in California, call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian at 855-918-4253, or contact us here to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Allow us to help and to resolve your case with the best possible outcome.