In a recent arrest in Orange County, a man was apprehended after pushing his mother out of his car, holding his sister against her will and leading the police on a chase. The 18 year old was arrested and charged with multiple crimes in an Orange County court, including felony evading, carjacking and the kidnapping of his sister. Although this case is quite serious and can lead to a long California state prison sentence, many persons face felony charges for evading the police that can be defended by an experienced criminal defense lawyer, which may lead to the reduction or dismissal of serious felony charges.
1. Evading Charges in California
There are different types of evading charges in California. Many persons simply don’t notice or are unable to comply fast enough to a law enforcement officer’s request to stop. On the other hand, some drivers may intentionally try to avoid the police. California Vehicle Code section 2800.1 is the California misdemeanor evading statute. To be convicted of misdemeanor evading charges, the prosecutor must prove the a driver willfully attempted to or did flee from a police officer who was pursuing a motor vehicle either by car or bicycle.
The government must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- A driver had the specific intent to evade a law enforcement officer;
- The law enforcement officer exhibited a minimum of one lighted red lamp on the front of the vehicle which the accused saw or should have seen;
- The law enforcement officer’s vehicle was marked;
- The law enforcement vehicle was operated by a law enforcement or “peace officer” wearing a uniform;
- The officer’s vehicle was using his or her siren as necessary.
A felony evading charge in violation of California Vehicle Code section 2800.2 “reckless evading” is usually charged where the defendant has engaged in conduct with the reckless disregard for the safety of others such, as the high speed chase in Orange County described above.
More serious felony charges can arise where an evading situation occurs where another person is injured or killed in violation of California Vehicle Code section 2800.3. Such cases, whether they are filed in Los Angeles, Palmdale, Pasadena, Ontario, West Covina, Huntington Beach or any other city in California, can lead to a significant prison sentence and a seasoned criminal attorney should be consulted as soon as possible after an arrest for such charges.
2. Penalties for Evading Charges in California
The penalty for a misdemeanor violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.1 includes:
- Up to 1 year in County Jail;
- Up to $1,000.00 in fines;
- 30 days impoundment of vehicle involved in the evading.
The penalty for a felony violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.2 includes:
- 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in a California State Prison;
- Up to a $10,000,00 fine;
- 30 days impoundment of the vehicle involved in the evading;
The penalty for a felony violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.3 includes:
- 3 years, 5 years, or up to 7 years in a California State Prison;
- Min $2,000.00 up to $10,000.00 fine;
- If the violation involves the death of another, the sentence will range from 4 years, 6 years or 10 years in California State Prison.
Clearly, a conviction for misdemeanor or felony evading can have a serious effect on one’s life and an arrest for such charges in California needs to be defended by a qualified criminal lawyer who can work to get charges reduced or dismissed either by plea bargain or by trial if necessary.