Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement


Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement

West Palm Beach Attorney David W. Olson – Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer

 

Under Florida Statute 316.1935, it is illegal for a driver to flee from a law enforcement officer once the driver has been ordered to stop:

 

  • “…It is unlawful for the operator of any vehicle, having knowledge that he or she has been ordered to stop such vehicle by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully to refuse or fail to stop the vehicle in compliance with such order…” (underlining added)

 

The statute contains several levels and scenarios of “fleeing and eluding.” The potential penalties increase in accordance with the severity of the violations. Depending on the specific charge, a conviction can potentially result in a first, second or third degree felony and up to 30 years in prison. Other potential penalties include, but are not limited to, driver’s license revocation and vehicle seizure.

 

If you were charged with fleeing and eluding, it is crucial to retain a highly experienced attorney with a proven record of accomplishment. Attorney David W. Olson has more than 30 years of experience representing adult and juvenile clients charged with extremely serious felonies and misdemeanors, including fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, vehicular homicide, murder, assault, drug charges, DUI, reckless driving, domestic assault and battery, resisting arrest, sex offenses, weapons offenses and more.

 

Florida Statute 316.1935 – Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer; Aggravated Fleeing or Eluding

 

Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer

 

(1) It is unlawful for the operator of any vehicle, having knowledge that he or she has been ordered to stop such vehicle by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully to refuse or fail to stop the vehicle in compliance with such order or, having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully to flee in an attempt to elude the officer, and a person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

What Does the State Have to Prove to Meet Its Burden of Proof?

 

The State must prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, the following elements:

 

  1. The defendant was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida,
  2. A duly authorized law enforcement officer ordered the defendant to stop or remain stopped,
  3. The defendant, knowing he or she had been ordered to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer.
    • o Willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle in compliance with the order (or)
    • o Having stopped the vehicle, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude the officer.

 

Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer – Siren and Lights Activated

 

(2) Any person who willfully flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle, with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle, with siren and lights activated commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

What the State has to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, to meet its burden:

 

  1. Defendant was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida.
  2. Defendant, knowing he or she had been directed to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willingly fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude a law enforcement officer.
  3. The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated.

 

Fleeing and Eluding with Siren and Lights Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving

 

(3) Any person who willfully flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle, with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle, with siren and lights activated, and during the course of the fleeing or attempted eluding:

 

(a) Drives at high speed, or in any manner which demonstrates a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

What the State has to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, to meet its burden:

 

  1. Defendant was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida.
  2. Defendant, knowing he or she had been directed to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude a law enforcement officer.
  3. The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated.
  4. During the course of the fleeing or the attempt to elude, defendant drove at high speed or in any manner demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

 

Fleeing and Eluding with Siren and Lights Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death

 

(b) Drives at high speed, or in any manner which demonstrates a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and causes serious bodily injury or death to another person, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person’s vehicle, commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall sentence any person convicted of committing the offense described in this paragraph to a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years imprisonment. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent a court from imposing a greater sentence of incarceration as authorized by law.

 

What the State has to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, to meet its burden:

 

  1. Defendant was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida.
  2. Defendant, knowing that he or she had been directed to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude a law enforcement officer.
  3. The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated.
  4. During the course of the fleeing or the attempt to elude, defendant drove at high speed or in any manner demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
  5. As a result of defendant’s fleeing or eluding at high speed or wanton disregard for safety, he or she caused the death of, or serious bodily injury to another person or law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to stop his or her vehicle.

 

Defenses to Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer

 

There are various defenses that may be asserted, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. In order for the prosecution to prove its case, it must prove that the driver had knowledge – awareness – that the law enforcement officer ordered the driver to stop. Additionally, it must be proven that the driver intentionally fled or attempted to elude the officer.

 

Attorney Olson will pursue the most favorable results possible for you. Over the course of more than three decades, Attorney Olson has represented thousands of clients. Many cases have resulted in dismissals, particularly those of first time offenders. Alternatives to incarceration will always be pursued whenever possible. Depending on the specific case, options may include reduction of charges, dismissal of charges, favorable plea negotiations, probation, community service, pretrial diversion programs and more. Each case is unique and the results depend on the particular circumstances involved. Discuss your case with Attorney Olson for specific information.

 

West Palm Beach and South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney David W. Olson

 

Attorney David Olson provides aggressive, experienced and effective legal representation to clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Attorney Olson has been recognized by his peers in the legal community for his legal ability and ethical conduct:

 

 

It is always desirable to contact your attorney as soon as possible after an arrest or upon learning of impending charges. Early intervention is advantageous in that it will allow your attorney to guide the case from the onset and immediately start formulating an effective legal strategy.

 

Attorney Olson offers a free, no obligation case review to discuss your particular circumstances. Attorney Olson represents clients in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and throughout South Florida. Spanish speaking clients are welcome. To schedule your free case review call The Law Offices of David W. Olson at 561-833-8866.

 

Source

 

Florida Statute 316.1935 (2015)
Florida Standard Jury Instructions, Chapters 28.6; 28.7; 28.8; 28.8(a)