Atlanta, Ga. – An officer with the Atlanta Police Department has been accused of violating their no-chase policy this past Monday.
According to reports, the officer chased a suspect involved in a car theft. The police chase reached dangerously high speeds and resulted in a collision of the suspect's vehicle. The wreck left both the driver and the passenger in the car dead at the scene.
A more thorough review of what happened has been promised by the department, however, as a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the law behind police chases in the state of Georgia.
Fleeing the Police in Georgia
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-395. There are many different criminal acts that are encompassed by the statute itself. The first part of the statute states:
It shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such signal shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle.
Violating this part of the law is classified as a misdemeanor offense. This means that if convicted of willfully failing or refusing to bring his or her vehicle to a stop will face a penalty of up to 12 months in jail as well as fines up $1,000.
The second part of the statute explains situations that cause the offense of fleeing an officer to taken more seriously:
In addition, if the accused driver, while fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer in an attempt to escape arrest for any offense:
(i) Operates his or her vehicle in excess of 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit;
(ii) Strikes or collides with another vehicle or a pedestrian;
(iii) Flees in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries;
(iv) Is DUI over .08 grams
(v) Leaves the state.
If convicted of this part of the statute, then the driver will be facing a felony. Felony penalties include up to 5 years in prison.
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