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Fleeing and Eluding explained by a Tampa Attorney

The criminal charge of fleeing and eluding is a serious criminal offense with serious criminal penalties under Florida law. Unlike other felony offenses, the court is not allowed to withhold adjudication for this charge. This means that anyone who enters a plea of guilty or no contest to this plea will become a convicted felon.

For this reason, the goal in many of these cases is getting the charges dropped or reduced to a less serious offense such as a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. An experienced criminal defense attorney can investigate defenses that exist in your case. We fight the charges aggressively with the goal of helping you achieve the best possible result.

Contact the Sammis Law Firm today to discuss your arrest for fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, or Pinellas County, FL. Call 813-250-0500.

Penalties and Punishments for Fleeing and Eluding

Florida law provides for several versions of fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer under F.S. 316.1935. Although Florida law formerly provided for a misdemeanor version of fleeing and eluding, now any charge for fleeing and attempting to elude is a felony offense. The definition of the term "fleeing a law enforcement officer" can be found in Florida Statute Section 316.003(53).

The elements of fleeding and eluding under Florida law are as follows:

  1. operating a motor vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida;
  2. having knowledge that he has been ordered to stop the vehicle;
  3. by a duly authorized law enforcement officer;
  4. willfully refusing or failing to stop the vehicle in compliance with such order; or
  5. having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully to flee in an attempt to elude the officer.

The Florida crime of fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer is a third degree felony punishable by a $5,000.00 fine and Five (5) years in Florida State Prison. In many of these cases, the law enforcement officer will also seize your vehicle and provide you with notice of the intention to initiate a forfeiture of the vehicle.

Aggravated Fleeing and Attempting to Elude

Florida Statute Section 316.1935(3)(a), for fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer while siren and lights activated with high speed or reckless driving provides for an enhanced charge if the defendant drives at a high rate of speed, or with a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

The penalty for the aggravated version of the offense is enhanced to a second degree felony which is punishable by fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison.

Aggravated Fleeing and Attempting to Elude with Serious Bodily Injury

Florida Statute Section 316.1935(4)(b), for Aggravated Fleeing or Eluding by leaving a crash involving injury or death then causing serious bodily injury or death is enhanced even further.

Under this charge the prosecutor must prove that the driver, while driving at a high rate of speed or with a wanton disregard for the safety of person or property causes serious bodily injury or death of another. This offense is a first degree felony punishable by thirty (30) years in Florida State Prison with a three (3) year minimum mandatory prison sentence.

Our Solutions

If you have been charged with the serious felony offense of fleeing and eluding in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

We represent clients charged with fleeing and attempting to eluding a law enforcement officer throughout the greater Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, Plant City, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bartow, Dade City, New Port Richey, Brooksville, Florida. We can begin your defense today against this serious criminal charge with serious criminal penalties.

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