Fleeing and Eluding

When a police officer in Florida activates the siren or lights on his or her vehicle, drivers in front of the law enforcement vehicle are expected to pull over and either wait for the officer to pass or stop for an alleged traffic violation. When a person refuses to stop after being ordered to do so by a police officer in Florida, the alleged offender may be charged with the crime of fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.

Fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement officials is a felony offense in Florida, which means that a conviction can carry some very steep penalties that may include a lengthy prison sentence and enormous fines. Not all people who are accused of this crime knowingly defied orders by law enforcement officers, and some alleged offenders may have valid justifications as to why they were unable to stop.

Lawyer for Fleeing or Eluding Arrests in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Were you recently arrested anywhere in South Florida for allegedly fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer? Even if you know that you have an acceptable excuse for your actions, you should still refuse to say anything to authorities until you have first contacted Meltzer & Bell, P.A..

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale who defend clients accused of all kinds of criminal traffic violations in Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and many surrounding areas of Broward County.

 You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (954) 716-8538 to set up a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Fleeing and Eluding Crimes in Broward County


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Fleeing and Eluding Penalties in Florida

Florida Statute § 316.1935(1) and Florida Statute § 316.1935(2) establish that a person commits a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 when he or she either:

  • As the operator of any vehicle, having knowledge that he or she has been ordered to stop such vehicle by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully refuses or fails to stop the vehicle in compliance with such order or, having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully flees in an attempt to elude the officer; or
  • Willfully flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle, with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle, with siren and lights activated.

Under Florida Statute § 316.1935(3), any person who willfully flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer in an authorized law enforcement patrol vehicle, with agency insignia and other jurisdictional markings prominently displayed on the vehicle, with siren and lights activated, faces the following charges if he or she does either of the following during the course of the fleeing or attempted eluding:

  • Second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender drives at high speed, or in any manner which demonstrates a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property;
  • First-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of three years up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender drives at high speed, or in any manner which demonstrates a wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and causes serious bodily injury or death to another person, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person’s vehicle.

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Broward County Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding Penalties

Florida Statute § 316.1935(4) also establishes the crimes of aggravated fleeing or eluding and aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death. Under this statute, any person who, in the course of unlawfully leaving or attempting to leave the scene of a crash, having knowledge of an order to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully refuses or fails to stop in compliance with such an order, or having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully flees in an attempt to elude such officer and, can face the following charges if his or her actions cause any of the following as a result of such fleeing or eluding:

  • Second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender causes injury to another person or causes damage to any property belonging to another person;
  • First-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of three years up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender causes serious bodily injury or death to another person, including any law enforcement officer involved in pursuing or otherwise attempting to effect a stop of the person’s vehicle.

Under Florida Statute § 316.1935(5), the court will revoke the driver's license of any operator of a motor vehicle convicted of a violation of Florida Statute § 316.1935(1), Florida Statute § 316.1935(2), Florida Statute § 316.1935(3), or Florida Statute § 316.1935(4) for a period of not less than one year up to five years.


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Florida Fleeing and Eluding Resources

Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act — Florida Statutes §§ 932.701-932.7062 are otherwise known as the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, which provides for the seizure and civil forfeiture of property used in violation of the Act. Florida Statute § 316.1935(7) establishes that any motor vehicle involved in a fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer violation is deemed to be contraband, which may be seized by a law enforcement agency and is subject to forfeiture pursuant to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. In Dept. of Law Enforcement v. Real Property, 588 So. 2d 957 (Fla. 1991), the Supreme Court of Florida held that the Act is facially constitutional provided that it is applied consistent with the minimal due process requirements of the Florida Constitution as set forth in that opinion.


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Find a Fleeing or Eluding Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you were arrested for fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in Broward County, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents individuals in communities throughout South Florida, including Tamarac, Sunrise, Hallandale Beach, Deerfield Beach, Margate, Wilton Manors, Weston, Coconut Creek, and many others.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell can help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that involves the fewest possible consequences.

Call (954) 716-8538 or fill out an online contact form to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


 


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