Traffic stops frustrate even the calmest motorists. But most drivers pull over when they see an officer’s lights in their rearview mirror. They may receive a ticket – or a warning if they’re lucky.
Yet a small number of drivers elude the cops to avoid a traffic stop. If you’re uninsured or have incriminating evidence in your vehicle, this prospect might seem enticing. You may surmise that a sudden burst of speed could save you from the slammer. Yet your odds of evading the police are low, whereas the likelihood you end up facing prison time is high.
If you tried eluding the cops and they caught you after a pursuit, you can keep these facts in mind when facing the consequences.
Eluding an officer is a felony
Under New Jersey law, eluding an officer is a felony. If an officer signals you to pull over, you must stop for them. If you have doubts about their identity, that does not mean you can run. Doing so constitutes a third-degree felony. This charge might include a license suspension of up to two years. It could also lead to a prison sentence between three and five years and a fine of up to $15,000. Eluding an officer becomes a second-degree felony, though, if your driving puts the lives of other motorists – or officers – at risk. By endangering others while fleeing, you could face a comparable fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Reviewing your charges
To be charged with eluding the police, the arresting officer must prove that you were aware of their presence. They must also have evidence that you intended to run from them. The officer might have been driving an unmarked car, which may give you a defense if you thought a civilian was chasing you. Yet you likely knew the officer was in pursuit when you eluded them. In this case, you could pursue a plea bargain. Doing so allows you to avoid a trial and the fate of a jury’s verdict. And plea bargains permit you to plead guilty while agreeing to a lesser prison sentence or fine in the admission of wrongdoing.
Don’t face serious criminal charges alone
You might think that eluding the police could help you escape a ticket. Instead, it can lead to a license suspension, substantial fines and possible jail time. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help you understand your charges and make your case. Learn how The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo can assist by scheduling a free initial consultation. Call 908-316-8671 or contact us online.