Laurens Co., Ga. - According to reports from the Laurens County Sheriff's Office, an inmate who escaped a state-run prison led a police chase through the county this past week.
The statewide announcement about the escaped inmate led to deputies spotting him on I-16W in a stolen ambulance. The inmate led a police chase in the ambulance until they were able to successfully complete a PIT maneuver on the interstate.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will focus on the law behind police chases - fleeing or attempting to elude.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude 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.
The third part of the statute covers the impersonation of a law enforcement officer:
It shall be unlawful for a person: (1) To impersonate a sheriff, deputy sheriff, state trooper, agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police officer, or any other authorized law enforcement officer by using a motor vehicle or motorcycle designed, equipped, or marked so as to resemble a motor vehicle or motorcycle belonging to any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency; or (2) Otherwise to impersonate any such law enforcement officer in order to direct, stop, or otherwise control traffic.
Charges such as fleeing or attempting to elude are commonly seen in cases for DUI in Georgia. If you or a loved one is facing serious charges, call our offices today. We can help you now.