According to reports out of Atlanta, a driver led Georgia State Troopers on a high speed chase through downtown early Saturday morning. The driver is currently unidentified, and one of the passengers of the vehicle successfully fled the scene.
The chase started around 2:00 am when a trooper attempted to conduct a routine traffic stop for speeding in Georgia. The police report showed that the vehicle was clocked at 135 MPH going through downtown in a 55 MPH zone. The driver allegedly stopped his vehicle in the HOV lane as if he were pulling over, and then he sped off onto the North Avenue exit. Both the driver and the passenger jumped out of the vehicle while it was still moving. They both ran in different directions. The troopers were able to catch up to the driver, however, the passenger got away.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I handle all different types of traffic offenses including the ones detailed above. I write frequently about the law behind fleeing the police, but in today's post I would like to focus on the part of the law that makes it a felony offense.
Felony Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
The law behind fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Georgia is laid out in O.C.G.A. §40-6-395. The law states that fleeing a police officer occurs when 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.
Now, most of the time, this offense is considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature in Georgia. However, as exemplified in the story above, there are situations where the crime will be elevated to a felony offense. These circumstances include fleeing plus:
(i) Operating his or her vehicle in excess of 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit;
(ii) Striking or colliding with another vehicle or a pedestrian;
(iii) Fleeing in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries;
(iv) Committing a violation of paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391; or
(v) Leaving the state.
If the act of fleeing or attempting to elude involves any of these scenarios, then the crime will be classified as a felony offense and is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Traffic crimes are just as serious as any other types of crime. People tend to believe that traffic offenses are handled less seriously. While yes that is true of certain offenses, there are some traffic crimes that are classified as felonies as covered above.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or cited for a serious traffic violation, such as DUI in Georgia, please contact a Georgia DUI Attorney now. We can help you with your case and let you know what all of your options are. Call today.