Getting pulled over or stopped by police can be nerve-wracking at best and terrifying at worst. You may feel tempted to run, but evading police could make things even worse, especially if you’re wanted for other charges, you’re on probation, you have consumed drugs or alcohol, or you’re in possession of drugs or alcohol.
According to Georgia law, it is illegal for a driver to fail to stop his or her vehicle when police give a signal to stop, whether that’s a visual signal like lights or hand gestures or an audible signal like sirens or verbal commands. Officers must be in marked vehicles and be wearing their uniforms with badges displayed.
Punishments for Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police
In Georgia, fleeing the police carries a punishment of ten days to one year in prison and fines between $500 and $5,000 for a first offense. That sentence must be served on its own and cannot be combined with other sentences. First-offense charges for fleeing or attempting to elude police are typically considered “misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature.”
When Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Becomes a Felony
Additional circumstances could extend that potential sentence for even first time offenders. These include:
- Fleeing at speeds higher than 20 mph over the speed limit
- Hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle while fleeing
- Crossing state lines
- Trying to flee in traffic and putting other people at risk of serious injury
If you try to flee and meet any of the above conditions, you will be charged with a felony punishable by one to five years in prison and/or fines up to $5,000.
This charge is mandatory even for first offenses. That means, even if you’ve never been arrested before, you could be facing felony charges and at least a year in jail just for attempting to flee.
Punishments for Subsequent Offenses
Second-offense charges for fleeing or attempting to elude police within ten years of the first offense carry punishments of 30 days to one year in prison and fines between $1,000 and $5,000.
Third-offense charges within ten years carry a minimum prison sentence of 90 days and a maximum of one year. They also carry fines between $2,500 and $5,000.
What to Do If You’re Pulled Over
Always stop when police signal for you to pull over, even if you’re worried about other charges. It’s much easier to fight other charges in court. We want all of our clients to have hope, and that starts the minute you’re pulled over. At The Turner Firm, we are known for getting charges dismissed or reduced.
Reach out today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your charges.