Sec 2800.3 of the California Vehicle Code defines the criminal act of evading an officer that causes injury or death to others. In order to be convicted of this crime, the following facts need to be proven:
a) The accused willfully evaded an officer;
b) The flight from or the attempt to evade the officer was the cause of death or serious injury upon another person;
This crime absorbs the crime of evasion and elevates the criminal penalties involved in the act because of its consequences. The criminal liability is specifically attaches to the individual that is the proximate cause of the death or injury. Proximate cause is defined as the single event that causes the continued chain of subsequent events that resulted in the death or injuries. This means even if the individual did not directly cause the death or injury, if the act of the accused caused the series of events, then liability attaches to them.
Serious bodily injury means a serious impairment of physical condition, such as loss of consciousness, concussion, bone fracture, protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ, a wound requiring extensive suturing and serious disfigurement.
There are two aspects to this crime, first is when the resulting effect would be either injury or death. When the evasion results in injury, then the act is a considered as a misdemeanor offense while if the victim dies, then the crime is an automatic felony. As a misdemeanor offense, the penalty imposable is one year in county prison and payment of fines between $2,000 and $10,000. When convicted as a felony, the imposable penalty is between three, five or seven years in state prison.
When the crime is evasion of an officer resulting in the death of another person, then the imposable penalty would either be four, six or ten years in state prison. This penalty does not diminish the right of the prosecutor to file another criminal case, namely vehicular manslaughter. A further penalty would be impounding of the vehicle for thirty days and the California Department of Motor Vehicles would revoke the privilege to drive for three years.
The crime of evasion of an officer causing injury or death is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.