Joe Clark, a 45-year-old man, attempted to flee police this past Tuesday evening. According to reports, Clark hit one of the officers involved in the attempted stop and pinned the officer between a van and a patrol car. That was the beginning of the chase.
The chase ended in Clark crashing his van into a home in Thomas County.
In today's post I will outline the multiple portions of the law behind the fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer in Georgia
Fleeing or attempting to elude an officer in Georgiais defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-395 by dividing the statute up into several sections.
The first section outlines the misdemeanor level of fleeing or attempting to elude 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.
Any person violating the provision of this Code section shall be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor and: upon conviction shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $5,000.00, which fine shall not be subject to suspension, stay, or probation and imprisoned for not less than ten days nor more than 12 months. Any period of such imprisonment in excess of ten days may, in the sole discretion of the judge, be suspended, stayed, or probated.
This means that if convicted of violating the first part of the statute, then he or she will be facing up to 12 months in jail and fines up to $5,000 as well as a high and aggravated misdemeanor conviction.
The second section outlines the situations that elevate the offense to a felony. It is outlined as the following list:
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… shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000.00 or imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years or both.
This means that if convicted of violating the first part of the statute under any of the above circumstances will cause the crime to be classified as a felony offense. This elevates the potential penalty up to 5 years in prison.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, there are many cases that I take on that include offenses of both fleeing and DUI in Georgia. The criminal offense of fleeing or attempting to elude can be charged on its own of course, but is also frequently charged alongside another traffic offense such as DUI or reckless driving in Georgia.
Most of the time, a driver fails to bring his or her vehicle to stop because he or she is worried about being charged with DUI or some other offense. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our offices now. A Georgia DUI Attorney can help you today.