Fleeing Law Enforcement Officers in Florida
Fleeing the law is not an uncommon sight in Florida. In fact, earlier in September, a Florida based man was caught in the act of trying to flee law enforcement officers in a golf cart.
A cart was stolen from the Palm City gas station by four people, all of whom fled the scene on foot after bailing from the stolen cart. Officials report that the group had previously stolen a number of golf carts.
Fleeing and Eluding Statutes in Florida
- It is illegal for the driver of a car to continue driving the car having the knowledge that a law enforcement officer has asked for a stop.
- If a person who has been asked to stop the car by a law enforcement officer and stops the vehicle and then attempts to flee the crime scene, the act is considered a serious crime.
- It is also a crime to not abide by the law enforcement officer in a patrol vehicle when the car explicitly indicates its association with the law enforcement body.
- It is considered a felony in the second degree if the accused causes some harm to the property of another individual and attempts to flee the crime scene, to elude law enforcement officers.
- If the accused causes harm to a law enforcement official and the harm leads to the officer’s death in an attempt to flee the crime scene, this can be charged as a first-degree felony. This could also be considered an attempt to resist charges and actions dictated by the officer.
What is Fleeing Law Enforcement?
According to Florida statutes, fleeing and/or eluding is a criminal act if a driver had knowledge that they needed to stop their vehicle and refused to do so. The offense includes three main elements:
- The accused was operating their vehicle upon a highway or street in Florida.
- It was an authorized officer of the law that ordered the defendant to stop or stay stopped.
- The defendant, knowing that they had been ordered to stop by a law enforcement officer, failed to comply with the order or stopped the vehicle as ordered and then fled the vehicle in an effort to elude the police officer.
In addition to the above offenses, Florida law also contains several sub-types of fleeing and eluding that are considered aggravated offenses.
Penalties for Fleeing and Eluding Law Enforcement
The penalty involved in fleeing a crime scene or disobeying an order made by a law enforcement officer is likely to vary based on the type of crime committed. The punishment may include any combination of the following penalties:
- Imprisonment of the accused for up to five years
- Time spent on probation up to a maximum of five years
- A fine associated with the crime ranging up to $5,000
- A suspension of driver’s license for a period that ranges between one year and five years
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing charges of fleeing and eluding law enforcement, you need to speak to the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at O’Mara Law Group as quickly as possible. We will create the best possible defense strategy for your charges and ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.