Sec 2800.1 of the California Vehicle Code defines the crime of misdemeanor evasion while Sec 2800.2 of the California Vehicle Code is the crime of felony reckless evasion. The aforementioned laws are related to Sec 148 of the California Penal Code or known as the “Resisting Arrest” law.
The following are the elements of the crime of evasion of an officer:
a) During the operation of a motor vehicle, the driver willfully fled or attempted to elude a peace officer;
b) The said act/s was done with the specific intent to evade the officer;
c) The peace officer had exhibited at least one lit red lamp visible from the front of the vehicle;
d) The driver saw the said lit lamp from the peace officer’s vehicle;
e) The peace officer sounded the vehicle’s siren reasonably necessary;
f) The peace officer’s vehicle was distinctively marked as such, be it a police car or a bicycle;
g) The peace officer driving the vehicle was in uniform.
The following are the penalties imposable for the crime of evasion of an officer:
One year incarceration in a county prison facility;
1) A maximum fine of $1,000;
2) Impounding of the accused’s vehicle used in the evasion;
3) Restriction or suspension of the driver’s license.
It must be noted that the crime is committed once regardless of the number of police officers evaded. These penalties though may be increased should any of the following elements be present:
a) Willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, liability under Sec 2800.2 VC is imposable;
b) Serious bodily injury or death to another person results from the evasion, then liability under Sec 2800.3 is imposable, which carries a penalty of three to ten years in state prison;
c) Should death occur, then liability for vehicular manslaughter applies;
If the driver was intoxicated, then DUI murder charges are applicable.
If the driver goes into oncoming traffic lane on a freeway, then Sec 2800.4 VC applies, which carries a six month to one year prison sentence in county jail or sixteen months to three years in state prison. Imposable fines can be between $1,000 and $10,000.
This crime though can be subject of a plea bargain. In pleading no contest or guilty to evading an officer charge, the imposable penalty and charge can be reduced to the any of the following:
a) An alternative misdemeanor offense with a penalty of six months in county jail, such as Sec 415 PC or disturbing the peace;
b) An alternative misdemeanor charge that carries less of a social stigma;
c) One or more non-criminal infraction charges, such as speeding or failure to yield.
The crime of evasion of an officer 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.