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Misdemeanor Fleeing or Eluding Charges

Anyone can get lost in thought on the highway. When a straight, flat highway stretches out in front of you, it’s not unusual to start thinking about where you might stop for lunch, or about the work meeting you have scheduled that afternoon, or about juggling your children’s various activities and how you’ll get one child to dance lessons at the same time another has soccer practice.

Sometimes, you might get so lost in thought that you don’t notice a trooper or police officer behind you. You might not even see at first when the officer flashes the lights on his or her car. If you don’t immediately pull over, you might find yourself being charged with eluding or fleeing an officer.

Eluding or fleeing can be a serious criminal charge in Ohio. It’s more than a simple moving violation, like speeding or failing to signal a lane change. Even a basic first offense is a misdemeanor crime that can carry a number of consequences. If you’re convicted of fleeing or eluding, the possible effects on your life include:

  • Having to serve a jail sentence
  • Hefty fines and court costs
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Six points on your driver’s license
  • Disqualification of your CDL
  • Paying more for your car insurance, perhaps for years to come
  • An Ohio criminal record that can’t be expunged

Your best chance at avoiding the consequences of a fleeing or eluding conviction is with the help of a skilled Ohio traffic defense lawyer. A good lawyer can help make a case for why your charge should be dismissed. Alternatively, a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling criminal traffic offenses such as fleeing or eluding can negotiate with prosecutors to reduce your charge to one with less severe penalties. A lawyer may be able to help you avoid jail time and get your driver’s license back, depending on the circumstances of your case.

What is Fleeing or Eluding?

Ohio Rev. Code 2921.331 makes it a crime to:

  • Fail to comply with a direction or an order from an officer with the authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic
  • Willfully flee from or elude an officer when the officer signals you to stop your car or other vehicle

In a nutshell, the offense of fleeing or eluding involves disobeying a police officer when you’re behind the wheel of a car. If you’re driving and an officer signals to you visually or audibly — such as by flashing the lights or sounding the siren on a patrol car — and you fail to pull over or otherwise comply with the signal, you can be charged with eluding or fleeing.

You also may be charged with fleeing or eluding if an officer signals to you with a gesture while directing traffic and you fail to obey the signal, such as by failing to stop or continuing on straight when the officer has signaled that you must turn.

Penalties for Misdemeanor Fleeing or Eluding

The basic offense of fleeing or eluding is a 1st degree misdemeanor in Ohio, although fleeing or eluding also can be a felony under some circumstances. If you’re convicted of misdemeanor fleeing or eluding, the penalties may include:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • A driver’s license suspension for 6 months to 3 years
  • 6 points on your driver’s license

When your license is suspended for a misdemeanor conviction for fleeing or eluding, you may be able to get limited driving privileges to drive to work or school, or for other necessities. An experienced Columbus criminal defense lawyer can explain your options for getting a restricted driver’s license during your suspension period.

Defending Your Ohio Fleeing & Eluding Charge

A charge of fleeing or eluding an officer can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, especially if you’re usually a law-abiding citizen with a clean record. You may have had no intention to flee or elude the officer who signaled you to pull over. It may be that the officer didn’t give you a reasonable opportunity to pull over after signaling, or misinterpreted your actions as willful when they weren’t.

A skilled Columbus criminal defense lawyer can examine every facet of the case against you and look for the ways that the facts or evidence don’t align with what really happened. When it’s your word against that of a police officer, it can be critical to have a good lawyer in your corner. Your lawyer can be your voice in court, making sure that your side of the story is heard.

Depending on the unique set of circumstances in your case, it may be possible to get your charge dismissed, convince a judge or jury to find you not guilty, or to get your charge and penalties reduced so that you don’t have the stain of a fleeing and eluding conviction on your record for years to come. For a free consultation for your case, please call the Columbus criminal attorneys with Luftman, Heck and Associates at .

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335
advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com

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