As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I handle a lot of different types of traffic violations as well. A very common traffic violation is fleeing or attempting to elude police in Georgia. This is usually because drivers panic when they see police lights behind them.
A recent story broke headlines when a motorcyclist in Paulding County was being chased by police through two different Georgia counties. The chase ended in a fatal crash with a pick-up truck in Cobb County.
According to reports, the chase started in Paulding at 10:30pm on Tuesday night when officers attempted to initiate a routine traffic stop. The man allegedly took off down U.S. 278 and crashed minutes later in Powder Springs.
The driver of the pick-up was taken to Kennestone Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. However, the motorcyclist died in the accident.
The reason I write on cases like theses is because although this is a worst-case scenario - it could happen to anyone. Today, I will focus on the offense of fleeing an officer in Georgia.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
Georgia Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer is defined by law 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. O.C.G.A. §40-6-395(a).
Most of the time, fleeing or attempting to elude the police in Georgia will be treated as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The penalty can include a fine between $500 and $5,000, and a jail term between 10 days and twelve months.
However, the law states that there are specific situations that cause the offense to be classified as a felony offense. These situations include:
- Operating a vehicle 20 MPH over the posted speed limit,
- Striking or colliding with another vehicle or pedestrian,
- Fleeing in traffic conditions that place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries,
- Or leaving the state of Georgia.
A conviction for felony fleeing or attempting to elude can include fines up to $5,000 and a prison term from one year to up to five years.
Situations like the news story I mentioned above are definitely worst-case scenarios like I said. But the reality is that we have high numbers of fatalities on Georgia roadways. Our statistics for road accidents are some of the highest in the country.
That being said, not everyone is guilty of committing the offenses that they are accused of committing. And here at our offices, we understand that. We also understand that people make mistakes and should not be unduly punished as a result. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Georgia or another traffic offense, contact us today.