When is Eluding a Police Officer a Crime in Oklahoma?

eluding a police officerEluding a Police Officer: Not a Movie Car Chase

In movies, a high-speed movie car chase can look like a lot of fun. Yet outrunning the police is something that usually only happens in the movies. In real life, for the person fleeing, a police chase seldom ends.

The movie scripts do not include a long list of additional charges that result from a police chase.

There can be charges for speeding, reckless driving, and failure to obey traffic signs. Accidents can lead to charges of leaving the scene of an accident, or even manslaughter, as well as escalating the consequences of an eluding charge.

Yet even a low-speed chase where a fleeing driver obeys all other traffic laws can result in a charge of eluding a police officer.

It can be scary when we see those flashing red and blue lights pull up behind us, hear that siren, and know that we might be in trouble with the law.

But eluding a police officer is a crime in Oklahoma. It can make an already bad situation much worse. In some cases, refusing to stop for police can turn a minor traffic stop into a felony. Call a Tulsa criminal lawyer immediately if you are charged with eluding a police officer in Oklahoma.

Eluding an Officer: What the Law Says

In Oklahoma, eluding a police officer is defined as any willful attempt to increase your speed, extinguish your vehicle lights, or in any other manner elude law enforcement after receiving a visible and audible signal from a peace officer driving an official vehicle of the police, sheriff, highway patrol, or state game warden’s office to pull over. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 540A

The simple act of failing to pull over, of increasing your speed, or in any other manner eluding the police after observing such a signal is a misdemeanor crime. This is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine between $100 and $2,000, or both for a first conviction. A subsequent conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 540A

A police officer doesn’t have to use both the lights and siren in order for a driver to be put on notice to pull over. If the notice is sufficient for a driver to understand that they are to pull over, that is all the statute requires. Thus, a police officer could use any or all of the following: flashing lights, siren, bullhorn, or honking.

If you endanger another person or cause an accident in an attempt to elude an officer, eluding a police officer is a felony. This is the typical high-speed car chase we often see in the movies. This kind of elusive maneuvering of a vehicle can endanger the lives of others. The crime is punishable by one to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

If you cause an accident while trying to elude a police officer that results in great bodily injury to another person — creating a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, protracted loss, or impairment — you could be charged with a felony offense. This is punishable by one to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

If you are facing charges for eluding a police officer in Tulsa, it is important that you contact an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you protect your freedom.

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