If law enforcement orders you to stop your vehicle – whether by flashing lights or another method – you are required to stop. When you flee from law enforcement after that request to stop, you have committed a crime known as evading the police. These charges are not minor by any means. In fact, they carry harsh penalties.
Why is Evading Law Enforcement a Crime?
Any driver disobeying law enforcement by stopping then driving away, speeding away after lights and sirens initiate, or even driving several miles before stopping could be arrested for evading the police.
In Colorado, the term “eluding” is what is used to describe evading the police. Vehicular eluding is a very serious crime and CRS 18-9-116.5 specifically defines eluding as any person, while driving a vehicle, that attempts or knowingly eludes law enforcement and knows or reasonably should have known they were required to come to a stop.
Attempting to Elude is a Crime Too
You might eventually stop your vehicle, but you could still be arrested for attempting to elude, which is equally serious.
Eluding the police outright is a felony. Attempting to elude is considered a class 2 misdemeanor. While less serious, the penalties are still quite harsh.
Enhanced Fines and Penalties for Felony Eluding
To be convicted of felony eluding, you must be operating your vehicle in a reckless manner. Such as speeding and risking the lives of other motorists while eluding. Colorado sees eluding as a threat to public safety; therefore, the statute allows for enhanced penalties.
The minimum fines for these classifications of crimes can be doubled for those found guilty of felony eluding.
For example, if the minimum fine for a Class 5 felony is $1,000, a person found guilty of felony eluding would pay $2,000.
Understanding the Penalties of Eluding
The penalties depend on multiple factors, including your behavior while eluding. Some penalties for eluding include, but are not limited to:
- Class 2 Misdemeanor – Most people are charged with misdemeanor eluding, which is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face 10 to 90 days in jail and a fine ranging from $150 to $300.
- Class 5 Felony – Felony eluding happens when you are eluding the police while driving recklessly. A Class 5 felony means that no one was hurt while you were recklessly fleeing law enforcement. If convicted, you could face one to three years in prison and a fine ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.
- Class 4 Felony – If you cause an accident and injure someone while eluding, you are bumped to a Class 4 felony. That means you could face two to six years in prison and fines ranging from $4,000 to $500,000.
- Class 2 Felony – If someone dies while you are eluding the police, you will be charged with a Class 2 felony. This charge carries eight to 24 years in prison and a fine of $6,000 to $1,000,000.
Arrested for Eluding? You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Eluding the police is a serious charge, and as you can see, the penalties are quite severe. Therefore, if you have been arrested for eluding or attempting to elude, it is critical that you hire a defense attorney in Colorado.
Schedule your free case evaluation now with attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. by calling 970-704-0888 or request more information online.