The first thing that comes to mind when most people think about fleeing (or evading) the police is a high-speed auto chase in an action movie. Some people may reflect on a local news report about a driver who recklessly speeds away from the police on a freeway. Regardless of the scenario, when it happens to you or a loved one, it can be a very daunting experience.
Everyone has felt that uneasy feeling when you see the flashing police lights in your rear view mirror. However, if you fail to pull over when the police are in pursuit, you could be charged with a class 5 felony in Arizona. In that case, you may need a qualified defense attorney just to get the best chances of avoiding a max penalty in court.
This type of crime could happen in multiple ways. For example, a person who drives several miles before pulling over or intentionally speeding away from the police after being pulled over. Both scenarios can result in a felony.
What are the Penalties for Fleeing the Police in Arizona?
Whether you are being pulled over for running a red light, criminal speeding or a minor traffic violation, failure to pull over when the police is pursuing you is a crime.
If you already have one strike against you (a conviction on your criminal record), you could be sentenced one to three or more years in prison. If you have two or more strikes against you, you could face up to seven years in prison. However, if it is your first time offense, you could be sentenced six-months to two years in prison, one year in jail or probation without jail-time.
When a person is charged with a crime, it not only affects him/her emotionally, it could have a negative impact on the person’s finances, relationships and even his/her record. At this point, consulting with an experienced criminal lawyer is crucial.
What Happens if You Cause an Accident While Fleeing the Police?
A case that involves evading the police can be complicated, especially if it involves the death of another person. If you cause an accident that involves the death of someone else, you might be charged with Capital First-Degree Murder and even face the death penalty.
Defenses Against A.R.S. § 28-622.1 Charges
Fleeing from the police is outlined in A.R.S. § 28-622.1. There are some instances when a defendant could potentially have his/her criminal charges dropped. The defendant must be able to prove to the court that he/she did not realize the police vehicle was in pursuit. Here are a few possible scenarios:
- The defendant may not have heard the sirens due to construction and drilling sounds in the area.
- The defendant was listening to loud music and was unable to hear the police sirens.
- It was dark and the defendant was pulling over to a well-lit area.
- It was unsafe to pull over immediately, so the defendant pulled over to a safe location.
- The defendant was unaware that the police was after him/her.
If you feel that any of these scenarios apply to your situation, a good attorney can review your case and see if there is a possibility of getting your charges dropped.
What Should You Do When You Are Arrested for Fleeing the Police in Arizona?
If you or a loved one is arrested for fleeing or evading a police officer, you will need access to an attorney who has experience with this type of criminal case. An experienced attorney will help you determine the best course of action to take in order to prove your innocence.