California Vehicle Code §2800.1 makes it unlawful for any person with the intent to evade, or willfully flee or elude a police officer’s motor vehicle. There are many different conditions that must exist for a person to be found guilty of an evading an officer charge. They are each defined by the statute. One of the conditions must exist and proven in Court beyond a reasonable doubt.
The officer must be exhibiting atleast one visible lighted red lamp, and the person evading the officer must have reasonably seen the lamp. If not, the officer must be sounding his alarm as is reasonably necessary, or the vehicle must be distinctively marked. The last condition that may exist is that the officer’s car is operated by a peace officer and the officer is wearing a distinctively marked uniform.
In order for a person to be convicted of this charge, the prosecutor must prove that one of the above mentioned conditions existed beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, let’s say that Dave has jogged to his neighborhood grocery store. He goes inside and picks up a pack of cigarettes and pays at the counter. For some reason, there is a mistake by the store owner and they believe that Dave has taken extra cigarettes and they call the police. When Dave goes outside a police vehicle follows him down the street. Dave does not notice the officer, as he has his ipod on and he goes on jogging and eventually runs home. The officer does not turn on his alarm, just his light and continues to follow Dave, who is running faster and faster on his way home.
The only condition that exists in this scenario is that the officer had his lights on. Prosecutors must prove that the light was on and Dave was aware of the light and the fact that he was being asked to stop by officers. The officers did not turn on their alarm, and Dave did not notice that the officer was following him, even though the vehicle was marked. The government may certainly charge Dave with Evading an officer, but they will have a difficult time proving their case.
A person who has been charged and convicted with evading a officer is looking at a misdemeanor charge. The guideline sentence established by legislation imposes a penalty of up to one year in county jail. The final sentence will depend on the specific facts of the case, and prior history of the person being charged. Additionally, evading a police officer is often a charge in conjunction with another, more serious charge such as Los Angeles burglary.
An evading an officer is a misdemeanor charge, and with the proper criminal representation from a knowledgeable Southern California Criminal lawyer can assure that the additional charge is dropped, or if it stands by itself, it is reduced or dismissed completely.