Eluding an Officer in Fairfax
Everyone driving on the road should know that they must pull off to the side when they see flashing police lights or hear the siren. If the officer tries to get their attention, but the driver continues without stopping, they could end up being charged with a misdemeanor, or possibly even a felony. Even though eluding an officer in Fairfax is against the law, there may be cases of genuine misunderstanding. If this happened to you, speak with a dedicated traffic violation attorney so you can make your case and possibly get the charge reduced or dropped.
What Constitutes an Attempt to Elude an Officer?
A driver can be accused of attempting to elude an officer in Fairfax County if that person ignores an officer’s lights and sirens, and refuses to pull over onto the side of the road. If someone is charged with attempting to evade an officer, the prosecutor has to prove that the driver saw or should have seen the officer’s signals to pull over, that they refused to pull over.
If a driver sees an officer clocking their speed, and that driver attempts to avoid being pulled over by exiting the highway or making other turns off that main road, that person could be charged with attempting to elude the officer. However, if a person sees an officer clock their speed and continues to drive a short distance to find a safe place to stop, that would not lead to a charge.
Level of Offense for Eluding an Officer
In Fairfax, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor for someone to ignore signals from an officer to pull over. This is punishable by up to six months in jail. If someone attempts to avoid the police and endangers others by speeding or committing other traffic violations, then that can be punishable by a felony charge.
Many cases of eluding an officer are charged as felonies. This usually happens with high-speed car chases, such as someone rapidly accelerating or weaving through traffic in order to lose the police officer. Someone who is charged with this felony faces jail or prison time, large fines, and license suspension.
How an Officer Determines the Charge
Police officers will try to pull someone over by using their flashing lights. If they see that the driver is not pulling over, they may then use sirens to catch their attention.
When determining whether someone is eluding them or not, an officer will take note of how long they have been following that person with their lights and sirens on. Police will also take note of how many safe places were available to pull over before the person actually stopped. Finally, they will note whether the driving behavior indicates that the person was making unrealistic movements in order to escape.
If an individual makes several rapid turns on multiple different roads and continues to pass places to pull over, an officer may misinterpret that as an attempt to elude even if that is not the case. The best thing for a driver to do when they see they are being pulled over is to stop at the first safe place that they see.
Work with an Attorney if You Were Eluding an Officer in Fairfax
It can be easy for an officer to think a driver is evading them when in fact the driver either does not see the flashing lights or is genuinely looking for a safe place to stop. If this happened to you, the best thing to do is work with a lawyer.
A local traffic lawyer could help people facing the eluding charges in Fairfax County because they often know the roads, specific judges, and specific officers involved. Further, traffic attorneys know what kind of defenses and legal issues to look for in these types of cases. A legal professional could help you fight a charge of eluding an officer in Fairfax. Call now to schedule a consultation.