When a police officer in Pennsylvania activates his or her flashing lights as a signal for a motorist to pull over, drivers are obligated to comply. Failure to do so can result in a person being charged with attempting to elude or flee law enforcement.
Not every one of these cases involves people simply trying to avoid law enforcement though. It may be possible that a driver did not see the lights, the squad car was not clearly marked, or the motorist had some sort of personal emergency that superseded stopping for police.
Philadelphia Fleeing or Eluding Police Lawyer
Have you been charged with attempting to elude or flee police in Pennsylvania? You will want to make sure that you are represented by a skilled and hard-working criminal defense attorney.
Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm aggressively defends clients all over Philadelphia County and nearby communities in Pennsylvania against these criminal charges. He can review your case during a free, confidential consultation when you call (215) 535-5353.
Overview of Fleeing or Eluding Police in Philadelphia County
- What kinds of charges does a person face for this crime?
- How might an alleged offender be punished if convicted?
- Are there reasons that a person's conduct might be legally excused?
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 75 § 3733, this offense is defined as any driver who willfully fails or refuses to bring his vehicle to a stop or otherwise flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer when given a visual and audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency lights, or siren.
This crime is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. However, charges may be elevated to a third-degree felony if the alleged offense involved any of the following:
- Alleged offender was driving under influence (DUI) of alcohol or controlled substance
- Alleged offender crossed a state line during the chase
- Alleged offender endangered a law enforcement officer or member of the general public by engaging in a high-speed chase
A conviction for this crime can have an extremely serious impact on an alleged offender's life. Depending on the specific classification of this offense for which you have been charged, the possible punishments may include:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to two years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and 12 month suspension of driver's license
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to seven years in prison, up to $15,000 in fines, and 12 month suspension of driver's license
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 75 § 3733(c) provides two acceptable affirmative defenses in which an alleged offender can legally justify his or her commission of the alleged crime. The defenses accepted under this statute include:
- Police Signal Issues — This defense may be utilized if the police officer's vehicle was not clearly identifiable by its markings or if an unmarked vehicle was not occupied by a police officer in uniform and displaying a badge or other sign of authority.
- Personal Emergency — An alleged offender may be able to excuse his or her failure to immediately stop for a police officer if the decision was “based upon a good faith concern for personal safety.”
A person who has been accused of this crime can also deny that he or she committed the crime by challenging the prosecutor's claims through such defenses as:
- Alleged offender was not attempting to elude or flee
- Equipment failure prevented immediate stop
- Mistaken identity
- No criminal intent
- Police officer was not attempting to perform a lawful stop
Find the Best Fleeing or Eluding Police Lawyer in Philadelphia
If you were arrested for allegedly eluding or fleeing law enforcement in Pennsylvania, do not delay in seeking the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Joseph Lento fights to protect the rights of people who have been accused of traffic offenses in the Keystone State.
Lento Law Firm represents people throughout Philadelphia County as well as many surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. Let our firm provide a complete evaluation of your case by calling (215) 535-5353 today to set up a free legal consultation.