Posted on: 23 February 2018Share
If you don't stop when a police officer directs you to, you could end up being charged with evading or eluding the police on top of any other charges you may be hit with as a result of the stop. Although it's generally a misdemeanor, an evading/eluding police charge can still result in you being sent to jail, losing your license, and paying a pretty hefty fine. Here are two possible defenses you can use that may help you avoid getting convicted.
You Didn't Know the Police Wanted You to Stop
To prove you attempted to evade the police, the prosecution must show several things were true about the situation:
- The officer was pursuing you by vehicle or on foot
- The office issued a command to stop, which may have involved:
- The officer putting on his vehicle lights
- The officer sounding his vehicle sirens
- The cop issued a verbal or distinctive non-verbal command
- It was obvious the officer was a member of law enforcement (e.g. in an official car and in a uniform)
- You saw or heard the command to stop (or should have)
- You willfully attempted to evade being stopped or fled after stopping
The exact rules vary depending on which state you live in, but in all situations, the prosecutor must show you knew—or should have known—the police wanted you to stop and you willfully didn't obey his or her commands.
Thus, one possible defense is to prove you didn't know the police wanted you to pull over. For instance, if you suffer from a hearing impairment, you could provide medical testimony showing you couldn't have heard the officer's voice command or siren. If you can successfully attack the assumption you knew you were being pulled over or detained, then the prosecutor will have a hard time making the charge stick.
You Had Safety Concerns
Another possible defense you could use is that you were concerned about the safety of stopping for the officer. This defense is best used in cases where you feared for your life or the situation was otherwise too dangerous to stop.
For instance, police impersonation is a problem in some areas. One Texas woman was stopped by a man posing as a police officer who began asking her unusual questions. Luckily, the criminal was spooked by the woman's young son and left her alone, so she was not injured. If something about the police officer made you question the individual authenticity as a law enforcement officer and you pulled away or refused to stop altogether as a result, this could be enough to help you avoid being charged with evading a cop.
Of course, you will need to provide compelling evidence you had reason to fear the officer or the situation (e.g. you had prior dangerous run-ins with the cop); otherwise, the judge will typically side with the cop and you may lose this case.
For help with your criminal case, contact a criminal defense attorney or law firm like The Law Offices Of Jesse P Duran.