Evelin Vasquez has been arrested after several businesses in Gwinnett County accused her of lying to them and saying that she was a police officer to get out of paying for services.
A Norcross hair salon, a taxi driver, and a jeweler all accused Vasquez of claiming that she was a law enforcement agent to get out of paying them hundreds of dollars. She has been arrested on theft charges as well as charges of impersonating an officer.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I am very familiar with laws in Georgia including those encompassing the impersonation of an officer. To the surprise of most Georgians, the law that defines the impersonation of an officer is one that I focus on in my posts quite frequently - fleeing or attempting to elude.
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer in Georgia
Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-395. There are many different criminal acts that are encompassed by the statute itself. The first part of the statute states:
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.
Violating this part of the law is classified as a misdemeanor offense. This means that if convicted of willfully failing or refusing to bring his or her vehicle to a stop will face a penalty of up to 12 months in jail as well as fines up $1,000.
The second part of the statute explains situations that cause the offense of fleeing an officer to taken more seriously:
In addition, if the accused driver, while fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer in an attempt to escape arrest for any offense:
(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) Is DUI over .08 grams
(v) Leaves the state.
If convicted of this part of the statute, then the driver will be facing a felony. Felony penalties include up to 5 years in prison.
The third part of the statute covers the impersonation of a law enforcement officer:
It shall be unlawful for a person: (1) To impersonate a sheriff, deputy sheriff, state trooper, agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police officer, or any other authorized law enforcement officer by using a motor vehicle or motorcycle designed, equipped, or marked so as to resemble a motor vehicle or motorcycle belonging to any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency; or (2) Otherwise to impersonate any such law enforcement officer in order to direct, stop, or otherwise control traffic.
As a Georgia DUI Attorney, I see people charged with violating this offense as well as with DUI in Georgia quite often. The reality is that most people who are charged with fleeing and eluding have a reasonable explanation as to why it happened.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our offices now.