Eluding Police in Virginia—What Are the Penalties?

eluding police VA penaltiesEluding police is a significant criminal offense that courts and prosecutors take seriously.

Police chases endanger everyone on the road, including the fleeing suspect, surrounding motorists, and the pursuing officers.

However, there are two sides to every story.

The right lawyer could help you tell your story, make your voice heard, and possibly exonerate yourself.

Having an experienced traffic defense lawyer represent you could reduce your exposure to the potentially harsh punishments and negative consequences of a conviction for eluding police in Virginia.

My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am an experienced and knowledgeable traffic defense lawyer in Fredericksburg.

My law partner Andrew Flusche and I work hard to streamline the process of resolving your case.

We analyze the law as it relates to the facts of your case—then we devise a strategy to help get you the best possible outcome.

What Is the Crime of Eluding the Police in Virginia?

Disregarding a law enforcement officer’s lawful signal to stop is a crime according to the Code of Virginia 46.2-817. The police officer must use a visible or audible signal to alert you to stop as soon as it is safe.

Willfully and wantonly disregarding the officer’s signal to stop, or trying to escape or elude on foot, in a vehicle, or by any other means violates the statute.

What Are the Penalties for Eluding Police?

The penalties for eluding police depend on the facts of your case. Merely failing to stop for police is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The potential jail sentence for a Class 2 misdemeanor is six months and a fine of up to $1,000.

However, you could also face felony charges for eluding police in specific circumstances.

The police could charge you with a Class 6 felony if you either interfere with or endanger the operation of a law enforcement vehicle or endanger another person. A high-speed chase would fall under this category.

The punishment for Class 6 felonies in Virginia can be a prison sentence of not less than 1 year and not more than 5 years.

However, the law allows for another possibility. The jury or judge sitting without a jury could impose a jail sentence that is no longer than one year, a $2,500 fine, or both.

You could face a Class 4 felony if a law enforcement officer died as a direct and proximate result of a high-speed pursuit.

The punishment for a Class 4 felony is a term of incarceration of no less than 2 years and no more than 10 years, along with a fine of up to $100,000.

A conviction for eluding police carries additional sanctions beyond imprisonment. The court must suspend your driver’s license for at least 30 days up to one year.

However, if the facts indicate that the driver exceeded 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, the license suspension must be a minimum of 90 days.

Defenses to Eluding Police Charges

The best defenses depend on your desired outcome and the facts of the case.

We maintain strong professional relationships with local judges, prosecutors, and police, and we are proud to have garnered their respect.

These relationships benefit you because when we go to a judge or prosecutor on your behalf—they tend to listen. So we are happy to negotiate a favorable plea deal if you decide this is the best move for you.

However, we can fight your case in court as well.

You have a valid defense to an eluding police charge under Virginia law if you reasonably believed someone other than a police officer pursued you.

Law enforcement officers drive many different vehicles these days, so it can be hard to tell a police car from a civilian vehicle.

You might have other defenses, too, like arguing that you didn’t see or hear the signal or thought the signal was intended for another motorist. We can explore all options with you to make the best decision for your circumstances.

Help Is a Phone Call Away

Call us today at 540-318-5824 to protect your freedom and keep your license. We have defended thousands of people like you who seem to face impossible odds. You are not alone.

Contact us today so we can get to work helping you get your life back on track.

Ryan Fitzgerald

I'm Ryan Fitzgerald; everyone calls me Fitz. I partnered with Andrew to form a focused defense team that is devoted to your needs. I have over 12 years of experience as a former prosecutor, so I know what the Commonwealth wants to see for negotiations and how to find the weak spots in their case. My experience ranges from reviewing all incoming DWIs to prepare other prosecutors for court, to training officers how to build their DWI cases, to successfully prosecuting a thirty-year cold case homicide. Your initial consultation with me is free; you'll talk directly with me about your case and how we can leverage my experience and connections to obtain the best possible result.

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