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Evading a Peace Officer

July 21, 2016

Evading a Peace Officer

When you see the police, your heart begins to race and the nervousness sets in, even if you are totally clean. In the heat of the moment, you make the decision to flee. If you are on foot, you take off running as fast as you can. If you are in your car, then it’s pedal to the metal. You never intended to be guilty of evading a peace officer.

What You Should’ve Done
You should have stopped and talked to the officers. Maybe the police just wanted to let you know that you had a taillight out. Maybe they wanted to ask some simple questions. Maybe they needed your help. You were clean and you might have just been left off with a warning. Instead, you fled.

What You Did
Immediately the police give chase. With the police chasing you, you know that you are really in trouble, even if you decide to stop so you keep going. No matter how fast you run or drive, the police can call in backup. They will eventually catch you, whether it’s from your license plate and from your friend who couldn’t run as fast as you could. In fact, your friend might have been offered something to tell the police all about you.

Facing Charges
None of that matters. You were arrested for evading a peace officer. Since 2006, evading the police in a vehicle has been a felony in the state of New York under certain circumstances. In that year, the family of fallen police officer Craig Todeschini lobbied for the new law after he was killed in pursuit of a speeding motorcyclist. Officer Todeschini died when his SUV hit a tree. The NY legislature decided it was time that dangerously evading the police became a felony, even if you aren’t guilty of any other crime.

Protect Yourself
After arrest for evading police, it’s important to immediately seek adequate legal representation. NYC Criminal lawyers like Spodek Law Group know the law and the conditions under which the law applies. It’s very important to not volunteer information to the police. The police will initially question you, even at the time of the stop, and if they can get you to admit guilt, then it becomes much harder for an attorney to get the charges reduced or dropped.

Know Your Charges
If you evaded the police in a vehicle then you can be charged with a felony if someone was hurt or killed during the pursuit. Otherwise, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor is considered to be less serious than a felony, it can still result in jail time and significant fines.

There are conditions that need to be met in order to be convicted with the misdemeanor evading a peace officer charge. The state will need to prove that you knowingly fled the police. The police can demonstrate this if they can show that they had their lights or siren on at the time and you were traveling more than 25 mph over the speed limit or engaging in reckless driving.

Protect Your Rights
If New York state can’t prove those conditions, then they can’t convict you of the crime. This is why it’s so important to have an attorney who knows the law and knows how to successfully defend a client charged with evading police. It’s in your best interest to defend yourself vigorously from all criminal charges.

There is no guarantee that any attorney can get evading peace officer charges reduced or dropped, but Spodek Law Group Criminal Lawyers know the prosecution and know the police. They know the facts of the case. They can call witnesses, they can subpoena evidence, and they build a solid defense case. They increase the odds that you stay clean. They are former prosecutors defending those now charged with a crime.

Evading an Officer Causing Injury or Death

When someone evades arrest by taking off whether in a vehicle, on a bike or on foot, they can be charged with a variety of offenses under New York Penal Law. It’s much more serious if the evasion resulted in the serious injury or death of a bystander or the police. Police chases are incredibly dangerous, and the police take the matter very seriously.

A person who has tried to evade police arrest by engaging in a high speed chase can be charged with driving recklessly and reckless endangerment in the first or second degree. They all fall under Penal code § 120.25 regarding evading the police and reckless endangerment.

For example, someone might be stopped for running a red light. The person speeds away before the officer can ask for their license, and while evading police, the person almost hits a pedestrian, that person can be charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree. Courts call it an utter disregard for the value of human life. If the person has a depraved indifference to human life, he or she doesn’t care who gets hurt or killed while trying to evade police.

Reckless endangerment is a felony that can mean years of prison time. An experienced lawyer can argue that the chase didn’t not involve endangering others or an indifference to human life. There are other defenses that an experienced attorney can counter with if you’ve been charged with this felony.

If convicted of this Class D felony, you could face up to 7 years in prison. It’s considered a violent felony so the judge is required to give the convicted a minimum of 2 years in prison as a sentence. The actual period of the sentence is determinate, so that means you’ll get a set number of years based on your criminal history and the facts of the case itself.

When convicted, you’ll get at least 2 years in prison. There’s no option for zero prison time. The court will look at your prior history to find out whether you’ve had any other felony convictions in the last 10 years. They’ll look at whether there were violent felonies and a persistent history of violent felonies. A persistent felon can receive between 12 and 25 years in prison.

Once released from prison, the court will require that you have supervision for 1 to 3 years. There are rules depending on the facts of your case and how the Department of Corrections wants to handle the release.

You must not commit a crime, associate with criminals or possess drugs or paraphernalia. It’ll include visits with a parole officer, drug testing and curfews. As part of your release, you’ll need to have steady employment too.

Part of the conviction might include restitution and fines. Restitution will go to the victim of the crime to cover expenses due to the injury. It can be as much as $15,000. There are also fees that have to be paid to the court. Failure to pay the fines, fees or restitution might result in you not being released from prison.

All of that might be avoided with the right criminal defense lawyer. The lawyer might argue that the chase was a misunderstanding or there was no disregard for human life. The details of the case will determine how your lawyer handles the defense. It’s important that you hire a lawyer immediately to mount a good defense, or you could end up in prison for a very long time.

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