A 49-year-old Georgia man was recently arrested for DUI after a high-speed chase through Alpharetta. According to reports, police radar first detected the man driving at a speed of 100 MPH. He briefly attempted to slow down when he saw police, but quickly decided to take off in an attempt to evade the officers in pursuit.
Police followed the driver southbound on Ga. 400 where he was observed running red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, and exceeding speeds of 143 MPH. Police were ultimately able to stop the chase by rear-ending the suspect's car during a turn. At least one officer involved in the chase and collision suffered minor injuries that were treated at a local hospital.
The driver was promptly arrested for DUI, reckless driving, speeding, and driving without a license. Since he intentionally refused to stop his vehicle for police, he will likely also face charges for eluding police. The crime, which is typically a misdemeanor, can be a felony when a driver is under the influence.
Intentionally Refusing to Stop a Vehicle
All Georgia drivers have a legal obligation to follow orders given by police. This extends to when police attempt to initiate a traffic stop. O.C.G.A § 40-6-395 explains that it is a crime to “willfully fail or refuse” to stop your vehicle, 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.” These signals can be given “by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren.” In other words, if you see lights and hear sirens, you must pull over to the side of the road. Drivers who intentionally refuse to pull over and stop can face serious legal consequences.
Eluding Police as an Aggravated Misdemeanor
Willfully failing to stop a motor vehicle is generally an aggravated misdemeanor under Georgia law. The penalty for attempting to elude police can include:
- A fine of no less than $500 but not to exceed $5,000; and
- Jail time of no less than 10 days but not to exceed 12 months.
Eluding Police as a Felony
There are times when attempting to elude police can be charged as a felony and carry much harsher penalties. Refusing to stop a motor vehicle and attempting to evade arrest can be a felony if a driver:
- Causes an accident
- Exceeds 20 mph over the speed limit
- Puts the general public at risk of injury
- Crosses state lines, or
- Is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When charged as a felony, eluding police is punishable by no less than 1 year but no more than 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Speak With a Georgia DUI Attorney
Are you facing criminal charges for DUI in Georgia? The consequences can be severe, especially if you intentionally refused to stop your car. Hiring a Georgia DUI attorney to handle your defense will help you secure the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.