A traffic stop on Saturday night in Hall County allegedly ended with a driver dragging two officers behind his vehicle after they attempted to pull him over.
According to the reports, the officers were conducting a legal search when one of the passengers of the vehicle jumped into the driver's seat and took off. The two men were partially inside the vehicle when the driver attempted to get away. The driver is now facing a slew of charges including: assault on a police officer, kidnapping, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, possession of methamphetamine, and providing law enforcement with a false name and birthdate.
Both officers are currently in good condition, but as a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I'd like to focus today's post on the criminal offense of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer in Georgia. This is a charge we see quite frequently paired with DUI in Georgia. It's not usually as dramatic as the reported story above. Usually, we see this charge because people become overwhelmed when the possibility of an arrest occurs. This is why it's so important to understand what you're facing in those last minute judgment calls where it becomes a good idea to evade the police while they're trying to pull you over.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude in Georgia
The Georgia Code defines fleeing 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).
Usually, a first conviction for fleeing an officer is considered a high and aggravated misdemeanor in Georgia. The fine will be between $500 and $5,000, and the jail term could be between 10 days and twelve months. However, there are a number of situations where the accused person will be charged with a felony for fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia.
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. This means that even if it's the accused first time committing the offense of fleeing or attempting to elude it will be considered a felony offense. A felony conviction for fleeing or attempting to elude can include fines up to $5,000 and a prison term from one year to up to five years.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or a traffic violation in Georgia, contact us today.