Blog

Failure to Stop: Criminal Penalties for Eluding Police in Virginia

In Virginia, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for eluding law enforcement officers, depending on the circumstances of the incident. In court, it may be your word against the officer’s, so hiring an attorney with extensive courtroom experience is the best way to protect your freedom.

FAILURE TO STOP

If a law enforcement officer signals you to stop and you simply continue driving, you may be charged with a Class 2 Misdemeanor. The Commonwealth must show that you had a “willful and wanton disregard” of the signal. You may also be charged with a Class 2 Misdemeanor if you stop the vehicle and attempt to elude officers on foot or by other means. If convicted, you face up to 6 months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license.

ENDANGERING AND ELUDING

A more serious offense is endangering the life of another person or the operation of a law enforcement vehicle while eluding. This happens when law enforcement signals you to stop and you continue to drive recklessly. You can be charged with this offense even if your reckless driving only endangers yourself.

Virginia law defines “reckless driving” as operating a motor vehicle “at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” You can be charged with both reckless driving and eluding.

This is a Class 6 Felony, and you may face one to five years in prison, a $2,500 fine, and a one-year driver’s license revocation.

LOSS OF LIFE

The most serious eluding offense occurs when a law enforcement officer signals you to stop, you continue to drive recklessly, and a law enforcement officer is killed in the pursuit. This is a Class 4 Felony, which carries two to ten years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

HAVE YOU BEEN CHARGED WITH ELUDING IN VIRGINIA?

Although Virginia law has harsh penalties for eluding police, an experienced defense attorney can prove to the judge or the jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that your actions during the incident were not eluding.

One defense for eluding is that you did not receive the officer’s visible or audible signal to stop. In some circumstances, a reasonable person would not be able to see or hear the lights or sirens.

Another defense is that you did not believe the person behind you was a law enforcement officer. The news has stories of people impersonating law enforcement officers to harm unsuspecting motorists. If you believed the person behind you was not a law enforcement officer and you were afraid to stop until you reached someplace safe, your defense attorney can prove to the judge or jury that you are not guilty of eluding.

If you have been charged with eluding or reckless driving in Virginia or Washington, D.C., call the defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC today at (202) 572-1020 or contact us online.

“Mr. England is one of the best lawyers I have encountered, he was always there whenever I had a question or needed information, he listens , he calls and replies in and out of working hours , his priority is his client! He has helped me in more than one aspect of the law ; family , business , contractual and other areas, he is super smart and very quick with solutions. I highly recommend Sheridan.”

Mariam Wagdy

“Mr. England is a real professional that gets you results and will fight for parents that are doing the right thing for their children. I recommend him especially to fathers that are fighting just to see their child.Great lawyer.Wonderful lawyer.Without a doubt.”

Martell Woodson

“I highly recommend S.L. England! He is an excellent attorney who has his clients back 110%.”

Karina Alvarado

“Mr. England is a real professional that gets you results and will fight for parents that are doing the right thing for their children. I recommend him especially to fathers that are fighting just to see their child.Great lawyer.Wonderful lawyer.Without a doubt.”

Martell Woodson

“Sheridan is an excellent attorney. He advised me on issues in family as well as civil law. What I like about him the most is that he was able to think outside of the box and provide constructive solutions. He understood the issues very quickly and gave me a helpful advice.”

Karolina Muyingo

“Mr. England is the go-to guy to get positive results. He was able to guide me in the right direction with some great referrals. I can count on him to get some resolutions.”

J Thalley

“Mr. England is absolute perfection. He is incredibly professional and follows through until the end. In the end I won. Thank you so much Mr. England for everything.”

J Angonett

“A fantastic attorney in every aspect. Cool dude also.”

C H

“I needed a strong litigator to handle a contractor dispute, Attorney Sheridan was amazing! Provided strong legal counsel, negotiated only the best terms for me as a client, and provided top notch service. I slept well every night knowing he was on my side.”

Alisha Commodore

“Amazing!! Very knowledgeable, on your side and professional. Highly recommended! Great work Sheridan!”

Norma B

“S.L. England is bright, caring and brilliant... Thank you for all of your help.”

Regelle Harris Tanjang

Ask Us A Question

Contact Us Today!