Eluding 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.
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 — flashing lights and siren — is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of from $100 to $2000 for a first conviction or jail and fines. A subsequent conviction is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine from $500 to $5000 or time in jail on top of fines. 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 a prison term of from 1 to 5 years, a fine of up to $5000 or a combination of fines and incarceration. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 540A.
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 punishable by from 1 to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000, or fines and incarceration.
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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Help is at hand. A Tulsa defense lawyer is just a phone call away. To begin your free consultation with a Tulsa, Oklahoma lawyer, call the Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at (918) 879-1681 or toll-free at (888) Wirth-Law. If you prefer written correspondence, submit a question through the form at the top right of this page.