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Fleeing and Eluding

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.

Attorney for Fleeing to Elude Charges in Tampa, FL

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.

During the free and confidential consultation, we can help you understand the charges pending against you, the potential penalties, and the best ways to fight the case aggressively.

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 fleeing 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. After you recevie notice of the forfeiture action, you only have 15 days to demand an adversarial preliminary hearing. Wait too long and it becomes much harder to get your vehicle back.


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 can lead to 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 or Death

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 § 316.1935(3)(b), Fla. Stat., a charge of fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer causing serious bodily injury or death requires a showing that the defendant:

  • willfully fled or attempted to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with siren and lights activated;
  • drove at a high speed or in any manner demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and
  • caused serious bodily injury or death to another person.

This offense is charged as a first-degree felony punishable by thirty (30) years in Florida State Prison with a three (3) year minimum mandatory prison sentence.


Finding a Lawyer for Flee to Elude Crimes in Florida

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.

Call 813-250-0500 for a free and confidential consultation today.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

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