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Fleeing and Eluding

Fleeing and Eluding

Fleeing and eluding is a relatively common offense which can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. Recently, the Florida Legislature amended the law to provide for minimum mandatories of up to three years in state prison for certain offenses. The legislature also increased the maximum punishment for certain categories of fleeing and eluding. Due to the possible severity of these charges and the stiff penalties they carry, it is extremely important to involve a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. If you or a loved are facing fleeing and eluding charges in Florida, contact Mr. Edelstein immediately for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION.

316.1935  Fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer; aggravated fleeing or eluding.--

(1)  It is unlawful for the operator of any vehicle, having knowledge that he or she has been ordered to stop such vehicle by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully to refuse or fail to stop the vehicle in compliance with such order or, having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully to flee in an attempt to elude the officer, and a person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2)  Any person who willfully flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle, with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle, with siren and lights activated commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3)  Any person who willfully flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle, with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle, with siren and lights activated, and during the course of the fleeing or attempted eluding:

(a)  Drives at high speed, or in any manner which demonstrates a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b)  Drives at high speed, or in any manner which demonstrates a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and causes serious bodily injury or death to another person, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person's vehicle, commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall sentence any person convicted of committing the offense described in this paragraph to a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years imprisonment. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent a court from imposing a greater sentence of incarceration as authorized by law.

(4)  Any person who, in the course of unlawfully leaving or attempting to leave the scene of a crash in violation of s. 316.027 or s. 316.061, having knowledge of an order to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully refuses or fails to stop in compliance with such an order, or having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully flees in an attempt to elude such officer and, as a result of such fleeing or eluding:

(a)  Causes injury to another person or causes damage to any property belonging to another person, commits aggravated fleeing or eluding, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b)  Causes serious bodily injury or death to another person, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person's vehicle, commits aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death, a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

The felony of aggravated fleeing or eluding and the felony of aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death constitute separate offenses for which a person may be charged, in addition to the offenses under ss. 316.027 and 316.061, relating to unlawfully leaving the scene of a crash, which the person had been in the course of committing or attempting to commit when the order to stop was given. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall sentence any person convicted of committing aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death to a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years imprisonment. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a court from imposing a greater sentence of incarceration as authorized by law.

(5)  The court shall revoke, for a period not less than 1 year nor exceeding 5 years, the driver's license of any operator of a motor vehicle convicted of a violation of subsection (1), subsection (2), subsection (3), or subsection (4).

(6)  Notwithstanding s. 948.01, no court may suspend, defer, or withhold adjudication of guilt or imposition of sentence for any violation of this section. A person convicted and sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of incarceration under paragraph (3)(b) or paragraph (4)(b) is not eligible for statutory gain-time under s. 944.275 or any form of discretionary early release, other than pardon or executive clemency or conditional medical release under s. 947.149, prior to serving the mandatory minimum sentence.

(7)  Any motor vehicle involved in a violation of this section is deemed to be contraband, which may be seized by a law enforcement agency and is subject to forfeiture pursuant to ss. 932.701-932.704. Any vehicle not required to be titled under the laws of this state is presumed to be the property of the person in possession of the vehicle.

History.--s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 1, ch. 76-31; s. 4, ch. 85-309; s. 52, ch. 89-282; s. 1, ch. 94-276; s. 896, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 98-274; s. 140, ch. 99-248; s. 1, ch. 2004-388.

Note.--Former s. 316.019.

The material on this page represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained here may be out of date. It is always best to consult a criminal defense attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

The hiring of a Miami criminal defense attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a criminal defense lawyer / client relationship.

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David M. Edelstein, PA
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