A local Atlanta woman made headlines in the news this past week after being convicted of several serious crimes in Arkansas.
According to authorities in Arkansas, the woman fraudulently withdrew money from four different banks. Officers approached her at the fifth bank, and she took off in a vehicle with stolen license plates. She led police on a high speed chase before driving into oncoming traffic and hitting a patrol car.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, my expertise is with the laws here in the state of Georgia. We also have a statute that applies to when a person has been accused of fleeing the police.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
The Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. §40-6-395, outlines two different levels of fleeing or attempting to elude police in Georgia.
The first part of the law defines the less serious version of the offense as:
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.
Even though I referred to this version of the offense as the less serious version, a first time conviction of this is classified as a high and aggravated misdemeanor. A high and aggravated misdemeanor in Georgia can result in penalties of up to 12 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Later in the law, there is a list of circumstances that will elevate the offense of fleeing to a felony grade offense. The law states:
Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section who, while fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer in an attempt to escape arrest for any offense, other than a violation of this chapter not expressly provided for in this paragraph:
(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) Commits a violation of paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391; or
(v) Leaves the state…
If fleeing the police under any one of the above circumstances, then a person is facing a felony charge of fleeing the police. This means that the punishment is elevated to up to 5 years of possible prison time as well as a fine up to $5,000.
Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation if you or a loved one has been arrested in the state of Georgia.