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FLEEING OR ELUDING A POLICE OFFICER

FLEEING OR ELUDING A POLICE OFFICER

Flashing lights and sirens in a rear-view are enough to make anyone’s heart skip a beat. It’s not uncommon to see those signals from a police car and be relieved when the car passes you. However, when the police officer doesn’t pass you and is signaling for you to pull over, you have an obligation to comply. To not comply is a serious violation of Pennsylvania law and you will be charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer once you are caught.

Even as an alleged offender, you have rights and there could be scenarios where not stopping was necessary. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to protect your rights and sort through the case details for good defenses to your unique situation.

West Chester Eluding a Police Officer Attorney

Michael Skinner is an experienced Chester County criminal defense attorney and founder of Skinner Law Firm. Using his prosecuting experience as an assistant D.A. as a foundation, Skinner will evaluate the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and build a strong, responsive defense.

If you’ve been charged with fleeing a police officer in Chester County or Delaware County, contact the qualified criminal defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm. We can help you with your case. To find out how and to schedule your free consultation call us today at or (610) 436-1410.


Definition of Fleeing a Police Officer in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania code defines fleeing a police officer in 75 Pa.C.S. §3733 as any driver of a motor vehicle who willfully fails or refuses to bring his or her vehicle to a stop, or who otherwise flees or attempts to elude, a pursuing police officer giving the audible or visual signal to stop. This is a second-degree misdemeanor offense when no other factors contribute to the fleeing or alluding. If any of the following factors are involved in the individual eluding the law enforcement officer, the offense is a third-degree felony:

  • DUI
  • DUI drugs
  • Driver crosses state line
  • Driver endangers law enforcement officer due to high-speed chase
  • Driver endangers a member of the general public due to high-speed chase

Penalties for Eluding a Police Officer in Chester County

Despite simple attempting to flee an officer being a misdemeanor charge, it still comes with hefty consequences. Additionally, if any of the augmenting circumstances exist, the charge is upgraded to a felony. Felony convictions have the additional punitive issues of preventing you from enjoying certain educational, occupational, and residential opportunities while barring you from exercising important rights like voting.

Under Section 3733(a) fleeing to elude a police officer is usually classified as a misdemeanor in the second degree with a § 303.3 offense gravity score of 2. The more serious charge of
Fleeing or eluding police officer-with DUI/cross state line/high-speed chase is classified as a felony in the third degree with a gravity score of 5.

The punishments for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Pennsylvania are:

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

  • Up to 2 years of prison and/or probation time
  • $500-$5,000 fine
  • $500 additional fine

Third-degree felony

  • Up to 7 years or prison time and/or probation
  • $2,500 – $15,000 fine

Defenses for Fleeing or Eluding a Police Officer

Despite its punitive stance on attempting to elude a police officer, Pennsylvania law does allow for specific valid defenses to the charge. Additionally, it gives the court leeway in deciding whether or not a factor is relevant enough to be considered a defense. Your West Chester traffic lawyer can help you build your defense. The following defenses are defined as valid by Pennsylvania code:

  • Police officer’s car was not clearly marked and identifiable
  • Police officer’s car was unmarked and officer was not in uniform or displaying a badge or other sign of authority
  • Failure to immediately stop was based on a good faith concern for personal safety and can be proved by a preponderance of evidence determined by
    • Time and location
    • Type of vehicle used by police officer
    • Whether defendant stopped at first available reasonably lighted or populated area

Fleeing a Police Officer Defense Lawyer in Chester County

If you have been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Pennsylvania, contacting an experienced West Chester criminal defense attorney sooner than later could make the difference in the outcome of your case. The qualified attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm will fight hard for your rights and your freedom. Call (610) 436-1410 today to set up your free initial case consultation.

This article was last updated on Monday, February 1, 2016.

Michael Skinner
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