Eluding Police Defense Attorney in Virginia
If a police officer asks you to pull over your vehicle, the law in Virginia requires you to obey the officer’s signal or request. Continuing to drive or attempting to evade an officer who has instructed you to stop may constitute the crime of “eluding.” This is a serious criminal offense in Virginia that can carry significant penalties.
However, if you have been charged with eluding an officer, you may have legal defenses or other options available to you. A knowledgeable Virginia eluding attorney can help you understand your rights and advocate on your behalf to protect your freedom and your future. It may be possible to fight for the charges to be reduced or dismissed. Or an attorney may be able to help you to mitigate or avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction for eluding.
Attorney Samantha Upton is here to help. She is an experienced Virginia eluding lawyer who is dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcome for her clients. She focuses her practice exclusively on criminal defense and traffic cases, and she has a long track record of helping people who have been charged with eluding. Samantha can review your case in a free and confidential consultation. Get started today by contacting Upton Law, PLLC.
What Is Considered Eluding Police in Virginia?
Under Virginia Code § 46.2-817, eluding the police is also known as “disregarding signal by law enforcement to stop.” The statute prohibits a person from continuing to drive on in a willful or wanton manner after receiving an audible or visible signal from a law enforcement officer to stop. A driver cannot disregard the officer’s signal or otherwise attempt to escape or elude the officer by vehicle, on foot, or by any other means.
However, there is an affirmative defense to a charge of eluding under the statute. A person who reasonably believed that he or she was being chased by someone who was not a law enforcement officer may have a legal defense to the charge.
Misdemeanor Eluding Penalties
By default, eluding in Virginia is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor. If no one is endangered by a person’s attempt to elude law enforcement, the charge will remain a misdemeanor. A conviction for misdemeanor eluding carries a potential jail term of up to six months and a possible fine of up to $1,000.
A misdemeanor eluding conviction may also result in the suspension of driving privileges for a period of 30 days to one year. If a person’s speed during the eluding exceeded the posted limit by at least 20 mph, the minimum license suspension increases to 90 days. A person who commits any criminal offense in addition to eluding may also be charged with that offense.
Felony Eluding Penalties
Under Virginia law, the crime of eluding is charged as a felony offense when it results in the risk of an accident or injury involving the pursuing law enforcement officer or others. Continuing to drive in intentional and reckless disregard of a law enforcement officer’s signal to stop, in a way that might inhibit or create a danger to the operation of a law enforcement vehicle, or endanger the life and limb of any person will result in a Class 6 felony charge for eluding.
A felony eluding conviction carries a potential penalty of one to five years in prison (or up to 12 months of incarceration) in addition to a possible fine of up to $2,500. In the event a law enforcement officer is killed because of pursuing an eluding individual, the charge is increased to a Class 4 felony. The offense carries a potential sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000.
As with misdemeanor eluding, a conviction for a felony will affect a person’s driving privileges. A felony eluding conviction will also result in a driver’s license suspension of 30 days (or a minimum of 90 days if an individual drove the vehicle 20 mph or more above the legal speed limit) up to one year.
How an Attorney Can Help with Your Eluding Defense
A conviction for eluding can result in serious consequences, including incarceration and fines. It can also carry a long-term negative impact on your personal and professional life due to having a criminal record. However, Virginia eluding attorney Samantha Upton can help you defend yourself against this serious charge by:
- Reviewing the facts of your case in a free consultation to help you understand the possible defenses and outcomes
- Advising you on steps you can take to position yourself to pursue the most favorable possible outcome in your eluding case
- Explaining what you should expect at each stage of your case, including whether or when you may need to appear in court
- Developing a legal strategy for your defense such as challenging whether you were given a signal to stop, or whether you continued to drive your vehicle in “willful or wanton” disregard of such signal
- Negotiating for a reduction in the severity of your charge such as lowering your charge from a felony to a misdemeanor
- Advocating on your behalf at trial, and if you plead guilty or are convicted, arguing for a lower sentence
Facing a criminal charge of eluding can place a lot of stress on you. But when you work with Upton Law, PLLC, you can expect compassionate, straightforward legal representation. You will be quoted a flat fee upfront. So, you will know how much your case will cost no matter how much legal work is needed.
Talk to a Virginia Eluding Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with eluding law enforcement, you may be facing the prospect of serious penalties if you are convicted. Don’t leave your freedom and future to chance in the Virginia criminal justice system. Contact us online or call Upton Law, PLLC today for a free, confidential consultation with a trusted Virginia eluding lawyer.
Upton Law, PLLC, serves clients in Richmond and throughout Virginia, as well as out-of-state drivers who are facing charges in Virginia.