Fleeing or Eluding a Police Officer in Florida

Most people have been pulled over by law enforcement at least once in their life, whether it was for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), a speeding ticket, not wearing their seatbelt, or driving with expired registration. Usually, people get nervous when they see the red and blue lights flashing in their rear-view mirror. Their heart will race and they feel a rush of adrenaline, which can trigger the body’s “fight or flight response.”

While fleeing may feel like a natural reaction it’s downright illegal. Whether a driver is being pulled over for running a red light, weaving, driving without their headlights on, speeding, blowing through a stop sign, or another traffic offense, they are required to obey the law enforcement officer and stop under Florida law.

What the Law Says

Fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer is covered under Section 316.1935 of the Florida Statutes. Under the law, it’s illegal for a driver, having knowledge that he or she is being pulled over by a law enforcement officer, to refuse to stop their vehicle. It’s also unlawful for a driver to willfully flee in an attempt to escape the officer.

For example, suppose you were stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. The officer walks over to your driver’s side window and asks for your license and registration. Instead of handing it to him, you slam your foot on the gas and speed away so you can get a head start before he can run back to his patrol car and chase you. In this scenario, you would most likely be charged under Sec. 316.1935, and you’d face felony charges.

Depending on the facts of the case, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer is prosecuted as a felony of the first, second, or third degree. Generally, if the person fleeing the officer injured another person or if they caused property damage, then they can be charged with a second or first-degree felony. As a felony of the third degree, the offense is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $5,000.

Facing felony charges for fleeing a law enforcement officer? Contact The Morris Firm at once for a hard-hitting legal defense.

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