According to reports out of Fulton County, three suspects led police officers on a high speed chase while driving a stolen sports car.
I write about news stories involving police chases and fleeing the police quite often. Unfortunately, most of these stories end up the same. The result of fleeing the police is usually a pretty serious accident. Police reported that in this case, the driver ended up slamming into a van. Two of the suspects were taken to the hospital, while the third suspect allegedly jumped a fence to flee the scene and has not been detained.
In today's post I will dive into the law behind fleeing the police in the state of Georgia as it is one of the main offenses faced by the three suspects in today's story.
Fleeing Police in Georgia
Fleeing police in Georgia is classified as a very serious offense. The law, 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.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I write frequently about the offenses that go hand in hand with charges of DUI in Georgia. Most people are under the wrong impression about certain types of traffic violations. They improperly assume that they aren't as serious or not as penalized as other types of criminal offenses.
This couldn't be more incorrect. Georgia DUI Penalties are life-altering and will affect your freedom as well as your right to drive on Georgia roadways.