If you live in Los Angeles, you’ve probably gotten used to reports of high speed, or low speed police chases. They seemingly happen every single day. Evading arrest is a highly punishable crime that carries various sentences. If you are committed of evading arrest, you’ll want to know what punishment you face. And after reading the below, you might just want to consider if it’s really worth it to try and flee.
Reasons to Not Evade the Police
Evading arrest violates California Vehicle Code 2800.1. In California evading arrest is defined as “the act of attempting or actively running away from a police officer that has made clear his or her intentions to arrest you.” Whether fleeing by foot or by motor vehicle, it is unlawful to evade a police officer. Additionally, a law enforcement officer may believe that an individual is evading arrest when that might not be the intention of the individual. It will be up to the prosecution to determine that an individual actually had an intention of evading arrest.
Some things that can influence the outcome of an police evasion charge include:
- Was the police officer in full uniform at the time of the arrest?
- Were there language barriers that made the arrest attempt unclear?
- In the case of a motor vehicle chase, was the individual aware that police vehicles were trying to pull the individual over? Did the individual understand, or should have understood, any visual or audible signals coming from the police vehicles?
Additional factors will need to be determined before the consequences of evading a police officer are ruled upon. These include if the individual was also driving recklessly while evading arrest and if the individual showed blatant disregard for the safety of others as well as property. If this is the case, that individual can be charged with violating California Vehicle Code 2800.2.
Evading a police officer can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on how dangerous the actions of the individual were.
Penalties for misdemeanor evading arrest may include up to one year in county jail and $1,000 in fines. A person’s vehicle may also be impounded for up to 30 days.
If aggravating factors exist, the crime can be charged as “felony reckless evading.”
Penalties for felony reckless evading can include:
- Up to three years in state prison
- Up to $10,000 in various fines
- Impounded vehicle for 30 days
Because of the potential for serious consequences, it is always best to stop when you are pulled over. In the event of arrest and questioning, it’s best to know how to handle yourself rather than to evade police. Here are some tips you’ll want to remember if you are pulled over.
Getting Pulled Over by Police
Being pulled over by a police officer can be incredibly stressful. From the moment those lights turn on you immediately start questioning what you did wrong and how you are going to prove you are innocent.
It’s important to remain calm and follow these guidelines:
- Look for a convenient area to pull over - make sure it is safe for the officer to pull in behind you. Also, if it is dark, you might decide to pull over to an area that is well lit. All of these actions will show the police officer that you are taking their safety into account.
- Slow down, turn on your turn signal and pull over
- Take the keys out of the ignition and place them on the dash
- Relax and take a deep breath
- Roll down your driver’s side window
- Turn on interior lights if it is dark
- Make sure all your movements are slow so that the officer can watch you and ensure that you are not drawing a weapon or hiding something
- Do not reach for anything, but rather, place your hands on the steering wheel
- When the officer approaches, allow him or her to speak first. Typically he or she will ask for your license and registration.
- Reach for them slowly and deliberately, hand them to the officer, and then place your hands back on the wheel
- Be polite and answer any questions asked of you
- Follow any orders given to you by the officer
Getting pulled over can be stressful, but as long as you make the officer feel comfortable and safe and you act responsibly, you have a better chance of getting through the experience.
Miranda Rights and Police
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona, that individuals arrested because they are believed to have committed a crime are allowed certain rights that must be explained to them. This must happen before any interrogation. It’s important to note that these rights only need to be read when a person has been taken into custody. “Miranda Rights” are meant to protect a suspect from self-incrimination and is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Those “Miranda Rights” are as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
- If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
- Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?
Interrogations by Police
Regardless of if you are informally interrogated by a police officer (such as during a pullover for a traffic violation) or formally interrogated for a crime, remember that there are specific laws that protect you. An officer will use any number of tactics to get a confession from you, regardless of you are guilty or not. It has been shown in clinical research that these tactics are effective in getting confessions from people who are later exonerated by DNA, and thus have always been innocent.
There are two key things to remember if you are being interrogated:
- Interrogations are set up and conducted to produce confessions - even from the innocent
- The best way to protect yourself is to remain quiet about anything. Do not make a statement without first talking to a criminal defense attorney. The best way to not incriminate yourself is to not say anything at all.
If You End Up In Jail
If you are detained in jail, remember there are still ways to incriminate yourself. There are some general guidelines you should follow, including the following:
- Do not discuss anything over the phone. This is often recorded and can be overheard.
- Do not discuss with fellow in-mates. Remember that anyone in jail is looking for a way out. That could include providing information about you in order to improve their position with the state.
- Do not make statements or answer questions without an attorney present.
- Never waive your rights to something without first speaking with an attorney.
- Know how to be steadfast with your requirement that an attorney be present during any interrogation or questioning.
Jail and Bond
Unless you are dealing with a minor charge, your bond will probably not be set until you appear before a judge during an arraignment. An arraignment is the first part of courtroom-based proceedings. This is what happens during an arraignment:
- The person charged goes before a criminal court judge
- The judge reads the charges against the person
- The judge asks the person if he or she has an attorney or if they need the assistance of a court-appointed attorney
- The judge asks the person if they will plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.”
- The judge sets a bail amount, if necessary
- The judge announces the date of the future proceedings, such as a preliminary hearing, pre-trial motion, or trial.
During an arraignment, you want to make sure you have the best possible outcome from your case. Ensure that you understand everything that you are being charged with. Make sure you have received counsel.
Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal charges can be complex, requiring much gathering of evidence and information. It’s highly advised that you work with an experience criminal defense attorney that will be able to advise you on the best defense.
Working with Sevens Legal, APC
If you or loved ones is accused or charged with any type of crime call us. Let us support and help you during this tough time. Our firm award winning attorneys provides hope and peace of mind. The Sevens Legal, APC office is located in both San Diego and Escondido. We have time and time again helped Southern California residents get their cases dismissed or penalties reduced.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800