Fleeing and Eluding in Illinois

fleeing and eluding, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneysIn Illinois, fleeing and eluding is taken very seriously. Therefore, all drivers should be aware of the law and how to avoid committing the crime. But what qualifies as fleeing and eluding in Illinois, and what are the potential consequences drivers face if they are charged with the crime?

What is Fleeing and Eluding?

In Illinois, fleeing and eluding could involve a high speed car chase, or simply a motorist failing to stop when directed to by an officer. Any driver that receives a signal from a police officer and neglects to pull over could be charged with fleeing and eluding. The state’s law says that the signal “may be by hand, voice, siren, red or blue light,” and that if the officer is in a vehicle, the vehicle will “display illuminated oscillating, rotating, or flashing blue lights which when used in conjunction with an audible horn or siren would indicate the vehicle to be an official police vehicle.” Additionally, the officer must be in proper uniform. If a driver fails to act once he or she has been official signaled by an officer, he or she will likely be charged with fleeing and eluding.

Fleeing and eluding can be upgraded to aggravated fleeing and eluding if a driver;

  • Causes bodily harm to a person;
  • Damages more than $300 worth of property;
  • Flees at a speed of more than 21 miles over the legal speed limit in the area; or
  • Ignores two or more official traffic control devices such as stop signs or traffic lights.

What Are the Consequences of Being Charged with Fleeing and Eluding?

Per Illinois Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-204(a), drivers face serious consequences if they are charged with fleeing and eluding. Fleeing and eluding is a Class A misdemeanor, and those convicted could face jail time of up to a year, fines anywhere up to $2,500, probation for up to 24 months, and court supervision. Additionally, those convicted of fleeing and eluding for the first time face a driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months, and second time offenders can lose their licenses for up to a year.

The penalties for aggravated fleeing and eluding are even more serious. In Illinois, aggravated fleeing and eluding is a Class 4 Felony. Those convicted could face up to $25,000 in fines, having their vehicle seized, and 1 to 3 years in prison.

Those who flee from police officers commonly have committed crimes before they flee, so any fleeing and eluding penalties would be in addition to whatever other crimes the driver committed.

What Should I Do if I Am Charged with Fleeing and Eluding?

Whether you simply did not notice the officer signaling or you intentionally fled from the scene, there are legal routes to take that can hopefully help reduce your penalties. Refrain from talking with anybody about your case—especially a police officer—until you are able to meet with an attorney. You may inadvertently share details that may give the prosecution evidence against you. As with any criminal offense, do not share any details of your situation on social media sites, or through texting or email. It is possible for the prosecution to get ahold of your posts or emails and use them against you as well.

Immediately after the incident of fleeing and eluding occurs, you need to contact a criminal law attorney who can help you navigate the complex Illinois legal system and will work to ensure you get the best possible defense. The prosecution will have to prove beyond doubt that you intentionally fled, and a skilled attorney may be able to weaken their case. Was the police officer in uniform when the incident occurred? Were you aware of the officer’s attempt to signal you? Did the officer properly signal in the first place? Did they properly utilize their siren and lights? If you believe you could answer yes to any of those questions, your attorney can help defend you against the charges. Even if the evidence is against you, meet with an attorney. He or she can help you negotiate a plea bargain that will likely be better than anything you could do on your own.

If you live in or around Chicago and have been charged with fleeing and eluding, the qualified attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney are available to assist you. Once a prosecutor himself, Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel knows how to navigate the Illinois criminal justice system and provide favorable outcomes to his clients. Do not risk losing your license, or facing jail time and serious fines. Choose a firm that will work vigorously to ensure you receive a beneficial outcome. Contact our experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys today online or at 312-270-0999 to schedule your free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-204

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/circuitcourt/criminaljuryinstructions/crim%2023.00.pdf

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