Smyrna, Ga. - Last Monday, police officers in Smyrna were involved in a vehicular chase. It all started when a U-Haul pickup was reported as stolen just outside the city limits.
Officers spotted the vehicle and attempted to detain the vehicle. Eventually, the U-Haul ended up striking one of the police cars. The driver and the passenger then got out of the vehicle and ran away on foot. The chase involved officers shooting their firearms after the U-Haul struck one of their patrol cars.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate. There have not been many more details released regarding the story, however, as a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the law behind the offense of fleeing or attempting to elude police in the state of Georgia.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police in Georgia
The Georgia Code defines Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-395 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.
A first time offense of fleeing or attempting to elude is classified as a high and aggravated misdemeanor in the state of Georgia. This means that if a person is convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude, he or she is facing up to 12 months of jail time as well as fines up to $5,000.
However, there are circumstances that can exacerbate the penalties associated with a charge of fleeing or attempting to elude. These circumstances include when a driver flees and:
(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 a driver flees under any one of the above-mentioned circumstances, then a person is facing a felony charge of fleeing or attempting to elude.
Frequently, the crime of fleeing or attempting to elude is seen alongside with charges for DUI in Georgia. This is because people tend to react fearfully or desperately when they believe that there is a possibility of an arrest.
If you have been arrested, call our offices now. We can help you today.