Offenses against Georgia law enforcement officers are taken very seriously. Getting pulled over is an extremely negative experience. Most people start panicking and unfortunately, that can sometimes mean irrational decision-making. Fight or flight might even kick in.
When this instinct kicks in, most people choose to run, which makes the entire situation much worse. There are a handful of situations where people choose to run than to pull over for an officer. Some of these include:
As I said, these are just a few examples. If a driver decides not to pull over and to try to lose the officer, he or she risks being charged with an offense known as fleeing or attempting to elude the police.
What is fleeing or attempting to elude the police in Georgia?
Georgia law defines fleeing or attempting to elude the police in Georgia 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).
Bottom line - when an officer motions for you to pull over, enables his or her flashing blue lights, or verbally tells you to pull over, it is best to always comply.
Penalty for Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
A first conviction for fleeing or eluding arrest in Georgia will be treated as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The fine will be between $500 and $5,000, and the jail term could be between 10 days and twelve months.
A second conviction in 10 years will elevate the fine to no less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 and no less than 30 days in jail, up to one year.
A third or subsequent conviction within 10 years, the fine will be between $2,500 and $5,000 and the minimum jail time is 90, and the maximum is 12 months.
Heightened Penalty for Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
There are situations where the accused person will be charged with a felony for fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia. This means even the first offense could be considered a felony.
These scenarios include:
- Driver operates his or her vehicle 20 MPH above the posted speed limit
- Driver strikes or collides with another vehicle or a pedestrian;
- Driver flees in traffic conditions, which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries; or
- Driver leaves the state.
If any of the above circumstances occur, the crime will be categorized as a felony with a punishment of a fine up to $5,000, a prison term between one and five years, or both.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI and fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia, contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer today.