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Under Washington law, a driver of a motor vehicle who refuses or willfully fails to pull over when being pursued by a law enforcement officer, or who drives his or her vehicle recklessly in an effort to attempt to elude the police vehicle that is pursuing them can be convicted of a class C felony “Attempting To Elude.” The pursuing officer must give a visual or audible signal to the driver of the car being pursued, and if the driver refuses to stop or eludes the officer, he or she will face significant penalties. Some constituents that apply are:
- The police officer must be wearing a recognizable uniform
- The police vehicle must be equipped by lights and sirens
- The officer must have given a signal by hand, voice, emergency light or siren
Possible Defenses For Attempting To Elude
There are a variety of sound defenses for attempting to elude law enforcement, including:
- Any reasonable person would have believed that they were not being pursued by a police officer, and that the signal to stop was not given by an officer of the law
- Continuing to drive after the signal to stop was given was reasonable considering the circumstances, such as waiting to pull over until the driver reached a safe location
Penalties For Attempting To Elude
Punishments for Attempting To Elude vary, and are influenced by an “offender score,” which is a score calculated by the offender’s previous convictions.
- An offender with a score of zero would be punished with 0-2 months in a county jail
- An offender with a score of nine would be punished with 22-29 months in prison
If you attempt to elude a police officer and possess a firearm or other deadly weapon, the penalties will likely be enhanced. If you are being charged with attempting to elude a police officer in Washington, don’t assume that the evidence against you is concrete. When you have an aggressive attorney on your side, you can build a strong case and increase the chances that the charges will be dismissed or reduced. The attorneys at the LawOffices of Greene & Lloyd, PLLC are experienced criminal defense attorneys familiar with Washington law and have the experience you need to present your case in the best way possible to the court. Call today for a consultation.