In Virginia, you must stop if you are in a vehicle or on foot, and a police officer signals you to stop. If you do not obey the officer’s command, you could be charged with eluding the police.
Unlike some misdemeanor offenses, this crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. In addition, you could be arrested for other offenses with their own serious punishments.
Misdemeanor Charges and Penalties for Eluding the Police
Under Virginia Code §46.2-817, it is a misdemeanor offense for an individual who receives an audible or visual signal to stop their vehicle by a police officer to drive their motor vehicle in willful and wanton disregard of the signal or to attempt to elude the police on foot or by another means. This crime is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
If the accused is convicted, they can be fined up to $500. In addition, their driver’s license would be suspended for a minimum of 30 days to up to one year. They would also have a permanent criminal record that can have long-term consequences on their life.
When Can Eluding the Police Be Charged as a Felony?
An individual can be charged with a Class 6 felony if they willfully and wantonly disregard a law enforcement official’s signal to stop, and it interferes with the officer’s vehicle or endangers another person’s life. The crime becomes a more serious Class 4 felony if the police officer was killed as a direct cause of pursuing the accused.
The punishments will be harsher if the eluding the police conviction is a felony. A person could be punished as follows:
- Class 6 felony: Up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500
- Class 4 felony: Two to ten years in prison and a fine not to exceed $100,000
If convicted, the individual would have a permanent criminal record and have their driver’s license suspended for the same time period as if charged with a misdemeanor eluding the police crime.
Were you charged with eluding the police? Our experienced traffic law attorneys are here to mount a strong defense strategy that could help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.