What Happens if I Don’t Stop for Law Enforcement in Virginia?

what if I dont stop for law enforcement in Virginia

Many law enforcement agencies use traffic stops to uncover other potential driver violations. For example, an officer who stops you for running a stop sign might have more serious charges in mind, like a DUI.

The most common driver response when a police officer attempts to pull them over is to pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot if there’s heavy traffic present.

However, in limited cases, adrenaline and fear might take over, spurring the decision to run from the police.

If you are caught running from police, what charge can you expect? Fleeing from an attempted traffic stop is known as eluding police in VA.

If you are charged with eluding police in VA, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact Attorney Andrew Flusche today to set up your initial consultation.

What Is a Running from the Police Charge?

After an eluding police charge in VA, many clients ask us, Is evading the police a felony? In Virginia, the law outlines two forms of eluding police, misdemeanor eluding and felony eluding. The penalty for not stopping for police rises as the dangerousness of the conduct rises.

No matter what level of running from the cops charges you receive, the court will suspend your license for not less than 30 days and not more than one year. If your speed is determined to have exceeded the speed limit by 20 mph or more, the minimum suspension period rises to 90 days.

Misdemeanor Eluding

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-817(A) states that an individual who, having received a visible or audible signal from any law enforcement officer to stop their motor vehicle, drives their motor vehicle in a willful and wanton disregard of such signal, or who attempts to escape or elude the law enforcement officer, is guilty of the Class 2 misdemeanor of eluding police.

A Class 2 misdemeanor in Virginia carries the potential of up to six months in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.

Felony Eluding

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-817(B) states that an individual who, having received a visible or audible signal from any law enforcement officer to stop their motor vehicle, drives their motor vehicle in a willful and wanton disregard of such signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of the law enforcement vehicle or another person is guilty of the Class 6 felony of eluding police.

A Class 6 felony in Virginia carries the potential of between one and five years in prison, or in the court or jury’s discretion, jail for no more than 12 months. Additionally, a Class 6 felony carries the potential of a fine not to exceed $2,500.

Essentially, the level of eluding police charges depends on the risk of harm to law enforcement and other bystanders created by your attempt to flee the traffic stop.

Eluding Resulting in Death

If a law enforcement officer is killed as a direct and proximate cause of pursuit, the party who committed felony eluding is guilty of a Class 4 felony. A Class 4 felony in Virginia carries the potential of 2-10 years in prison. Additionally, a Class 6 felony carries the potential of a fine not to exceed $100,000.

Defenses to Eluding Police in VA

Virginia’s eluding police statute outlines a potential affirmative defense to the charge.

If the defendant can demonstrate that they reasonably believed they were being pursued by someone other than law enforcement, the affirmative defense applies. For example, if the car attempting to stop you lacked any police markings or emergency lights, this affirmative defense could apply to your case.

Other potential defenses to eluding charges include:

  • Someone else was driving the vehicle;
  • You didn’t receive a visible or audible signal to stop your vehicle; or
  • You pulled over as soon as it was safe to do so.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help determine if a legal defense applies in your case.

Facing a Running from the Police Charge in Virginia? Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

I have represented many clients facing charges of eluding police in Virginia. I was admitted to the Virginia bar in 2007, and shortly after that, I began representing clients charged with traffic infractions.

I realized quickly that this was a niche that excited me. I find great satisfaction in helping everyday people who stumble into the criminal justice system based on a traffic infraction get the justice they deserve.

I know how scary this can be, and I know what it takes to secure a good outcome for my clients. Additionally, I have extensive professional relationships with local law enforcement and prosecutors.

I believe these relationships are a critical asset when negotiating for the best possible plea agreement. I tackle my cases with a result-oriented approach looking to have your case dismissed or your charges reduced. I handle all of my cases personally, giving each client the one-on-one attention their case deserves.

Contact my office today to discuss your case.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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My special report about driving on suspended explains six critical issues to possibly fight in your case.

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