Fleeing and Eluding Charges are serious but You May Have the Right to Flee
Failure to obey a lawful command from a police officer is an extremely serious charge with significant penalties and maybe even time in prison. The Criminal Justice system depends on people taking the Court seriously and doing what the Court says you must. Failure to obey a lawful command is a threat to the entire judicial system so Prosecutors and Judges often make an example of those who fail to follow the Court's orders. That's why you need an experienced fleeing and eluding defense lawyer who can protect your rights and your future.
1st degree fleeing and eluding- If death occurs, a person can be charged with fleeing and eluding in the first degree, a felony charge, up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5000, and the revocation of your driver’s license if charged under the driving code.
2nd degree fleeing and eluding- If serious injury occurs, or there are prior convictions of for fleeing and eluding, you can be charged with 2nd degree fleeing and eluding with up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5000, and revocation of your driver’s license.
3rd degree fleeing and eluding- If a collision occurs, or if the violation takes place where the speed limit is under 35 miles per hour, it is a 3rd degree fleeing and eluding with up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $1000, and a driver’s license suspension.
4th degree fleeing and eluding- If none of these other factor are present, a person is guilty of fleeing and eluding 4th degree, a felony with up to 2 years in prison, a fine of up to $500, and license suspension.
Sometimes an accused will have committed a misdemeanor and in the process of getting caught think it a good idea to take off and try and outrun the police. For instance, a driver facing a DWLS or Driving on a Suspended License will try and outrun the police. What the driver has unwittingly done is trade a 93-day misdemeanor for a 5-year felony. Doesn’t seem like a good play.
When you take off, the police will radio other officers in the area, maybe even a helicopter, and even if you get away with it, the experience is not one you will want to repeat. Better to take the misdemeanor and get an experienced attorney to see if they can get the charge reduced to a no operator's license on person. Or as in the case above, work to get the Fleeing and Eluding under the Driving Code dismissed and recharged under the criminal code so the offense can be set aside in the future.
In addition, a Conviction for Fleeing and Eluding as well as Resisting and Obstruction charge under the driving code will result in a suspension of your privilege to drive. An experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the collateral damage a conviction can have on you, will work to make sure your future is protected and will aggressively defend your rights.
In Michigan, the Supreme Court has ruled that under common law, a person has the right to resist an illegal arrest. That means if the police try and take you into custody but they have no right to do it or make a mistake about the law, you have the right to resist. That would include running away from the police. Obviously, you better have an understanding of the law or get an experienced lawyer to give you the best advice possible when it comes to your case.
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