Fleeing and Eluding Police in Lansing
Imagine this scenario: you are driving a little fast through a busy and hectic construction zone in Lansing. Suddenly, you see the flashing blue and red lights behind you. A police officer is trying to pull you over. Unfortunately, there is not enough room on the shoulder, and with so many heavy machines moving around the site, it is unsafe for you to pull over until you are out of the construction zone.
The Lansing police officer seems frustrated when you finally pull over, and when he walks up to your window, he charges you with fleeing and eluding. What do you do now?
Fleeing and eluding is a serious crime in Lansing, and it can lead to both heavy fines and imprisonment. The driver’s license attorneys at Grabel & Associates have been representing clients with driving-related charges for more than 10 years, and we have helped numerous clients fight their fleeing and eluding charges.
The first step to fighting these charges is to understand what it means to be charged with fleeing and eluding and what possible defenses you could employ. Let us help you get started.
Fleeing and Eluding Definition
Michigan law states that anytime you hear a uniformed police officer tell you to stop, or see him give you a hand signal to stop, flash his emergency lights, blare the siren or give any other visual or audible signal, you are legally required to stop your vehicle. It doesn't matter if you are in rush hour traffic in the heart of Lansing or on a quiet, country road, you must pull over and stop immediately.
Failure to stop will ultimately lead to a fleeing and eluding charge. If you choose to speed up, turn off your lights or try to flee in any other manner, you may be charged with fleeing and eluding an officer.
This type of driving charge can be quite serious depending on the nature of the incident, and your change will be one of the following:
- First Degree: If you kill someone while fleeing, you will be charged with first degree fleeing and eluding, which is a felony. You can face up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5000 and the revocation of your license.
- Second Degree: You will be charged with a second degree fleeing and eluding felony if you cause serious injury another person and you already have prior fleeing and eluding convictions. If convicted, you could spend up to 10 years in prison, and/or pay a fine of up to $5000. Your license may also be revoked.
- Third Degree: If you cause a collision or accident, flee in an area with a 35 mph speed limit or less, or have previous fleeing and eluding convictions, you may face a third degree fleeing and eluding felony charge. You could spend up to five years in prison, be charged a $1000 fine, and have your license revoked.
- Fourth Degree: This degree is usually given to first offenses, but it is nevertheless serious. If convicted, you could spend up to two years in prison or pay up to $2000. In some cases, you might do both.
These fleeing and eluding charges come from 750.479a of the Michigan Penal Code Act 328 of 1931. You can find more information here or contact an associate at Grabel & Associates at 1-800-342-7896 or online. Our associates know the code backwards and forwards, and we are willing to work tirelessly on your behalf to help you fight your fleeing and eluding charges.
Criminal Defenses against Fleeing and Eluding
If you have been charged with fleeing and eluding an officer, you and your lawyer will work together to build a solid case against the charges. There are several defenses you might take depending on the nature of your situation.
If an officer is not wearing a uniform or not driving in a clearly marked vehicle, you are not legally required to pull over or stop your vehicle. Officers must always identify themselves when telling you to stop and you cannot be charged with fleeing and eluding if they fail to do so. If the car the officer was driving had no police markings, you can claim that you were unsure or did not believe that the car was actually a police vehicle.
In some areas, such as the one described in the opening scenario, it is unsafe to pull over and stop. You cannot be charged with fleeing and eluding if you did not pull over until you were out of an unsafe construction zone or anywhere else you felt unsafe. However, you will have to prove that there was good reason at the time for feeling that an area was unsafe.
Although this is slightly more difficult to prove, you can also claim that, due to mechanical issues, it was unsafe for you to pull over and stop your vehicle. This is a much more difficult to defense to take, and you will need an experienced attorney, such as one from Grabel & Associates, to help you build your case.
The best way to avoid a fleeing and eluding charge is to always stop when a police officer tells you to do so. If you are facing these serious charges, get in touch with us at Grabel & Associates. With more than 100 years of combined experience representing Lansing clients, we understand your worries and we want to help you beat the charges and get back safely on the road. We are available for 24/7 free consultations at our toll-free number (1-800-342-7896) or online. Call us before you speak to a police officer.