Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer
Florida Statute § 316.1935(1) prohibits fleeing in a motor vehicle in an attempt to elude a Law Enforcement Officer (often called "LEO"). This criminal offense is classified as a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
In most cases the person flees because they are afraid of getting into trouble. Related offenses include possession of contraband, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license. False allegations can occur when the person was merely looking for a safe place to pull over and went farther than the officer thought was necessary.
Attorney for Fleeing to Elude Offenses in Brooksville, FL
If you were charged with fleeing to elude a LEO in Hernando County or the surrounding areas including Dade City or New Port Richey in Pasco County, Inverness in Citrus County, or Bushnell in Sumter County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ashley M. Aulls, P.A.. With offices in Brooksville, Florida, Ashley Aulls represents clients charged with this serious felony charge.
Information Center for Fleeing or Eluding in Florida
- Elements of Fleeing to Elude
- Definitions in Florida's Fleeing to Elude Statute
- Permissive Lesser Included Offense of Disobedience to Police
- Finding a Fleeing to Elude Defense Attorney
The following elements of the crime must be proven at trial beyond all reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida.
- A duly authorized law enforcement officer ordered the defendant to stop or remain stopped.
- Defendant, knowing he or she had been ordered to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer either:
- willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle in compliance with the order; or
- having stopped the vehicle, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude the officer.
Florida Statute § 316.1935 under subsection (2) focuses on the fact that the driver knew he was ordered to stop because the law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle and with siren and lights activated.
Florida Statute § 316.1935(3)(a) adds an additional element to subsection (2) and provides for enhanced penalties when it is also proven beyond all reasonable doubt that "during the course of the fleeing or the attempt to elude, the drove at high speed or in any manner demonstrating a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property."
Florida Statute § 316.1935(3)(b) adds an additional element to subsection (3)(a) and provides for enhanced penalties when it is also proven beyond all reasonable doubt that "as a result of defendant's fleeing or eluding at high speed or wanton disregard for safety, the driver caused the death of or serious bodily injury to another person or the law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to stop the vehicle.
The penalties and punishments are enhanced even further § 316.1935(4)(a) and (b) and § 316.027, § 316.061 when the fleeing and eluding occurs while leaving a crash involving injury and death and the fleeing or eluding causes property damage or injury to another. The most serious version of this statute occurs when the second crash results in death or serious bodily injury to another.
The standard jury instruction for fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer can be found at 28.6. It was originally doped in 2000 and amended in 2008 and 2011. Those standard jury instructions provide for several important definitions found in the fleeing and attempting to elude statute.
The term "operator” is defined at any person who is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon the highway. The term “street or highway” means the entire "width between boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the public for purposes of vehicular traffic."
The courts have determined that "Disobedience to Police or Fire Department Officials" under Florida Statute Section 316.072(3) is a category two lesser include offense of Fleeing to Elude. Disobedience to Police or Fire Department Officials" is a second degree misdemeanor.
Section 316.072, “Obedience to and effect of traffic laws,” states in part:?
(3) OBEDIENCE TO POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS.—It is unlawful and a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082 or s.775.083, for any person willfully to fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any law enforcement officer, traffic crash investigation officer as described in s.316.640, traffic infraction enforcement officer as described in s.316.640, or member of the fire department at the scene of a fire, rescue operation, or other emergency.?
See Koch v. State, 39 So. 3d 464, 465 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010).
The elements of the misdemeanor charge of "Disobedience to Police" include:
- the defendant is operating a vehicle, bicycling or walking on a public road; and
- he willfully fails or refuses to comply;
- with a lawful order or direction of a law enforcement officer.
If you were charged with the serious felony office of fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer in Brooksville, Hernando County or the surrounding areas of New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Bushnell in Sumter County, or Inverness in Citrus County, then all an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ashley M. Aulls, P.A.. Call (352) 593-4115 to discuss your case today.