What is the Penalty for Evading Police in San Bernardino County?
When faced with the possibility of arrest, many people experience a “fight or flight” reaction. This reaction is largely instinctual, and individuals may find themselves taking certain actions without actually thinking them through. When the adrenaline starts pumping, we engage in behavior without considering potential consequences. One of these reactions is to flee. However, fleeing from the police can make a bad situation even worse. California has its own laws against evading officers, and you might find yourself in a much more dangerous and consequential situation if you try to run. But what if you already committed this offense? What happens next? What are the penalties for evading an officer in San Bernardino?
Possibly the Most Insane Police Chase California Has Ever Seen
To understand how this crime is prosecuted in California, it makes sense to consider a few real-world examples. Let’s start with what is already being called the “wildest police chase in California’s history” by some observers. This incident involves not only charges of evading officers, but a near-countless slew of additional crimes.
On November 10th, it was reported that a driver had finally been taken into custody after leading police on a chase that spanned over one hour. During this time, the defendant stole multiple vehicles – transitioning seamlessly from one car to the next when his vehicles broke down or suffered severe damage. These vehicles suffered damage because he was using them to intentionally ram police cruisers and other cars on the road. The entire chase took police a long distance through two counties.
It all started when police received reports of a speeding sedan in Anaheim. When police cornered the suspect, he escaped on foot and immediately stole a parked van. Officers assumed that he would not get far and boxed him in. But the defendant rammed police cars several times, reversing and accelerating continuously until he had cleared a path to escape. Somehow, the driver of the stolen van managed to weave his way through traffic, leaving a trail of wreckage in his wake. He then emerged onto the freeway in an attempt to lose the police. When the van started to break down, he took an exit and arrived at someone’s home in Los Angeles County. He jumped out of the van, broke into the home, stole a set of keys, and proceeded to liberate the parked truck in the driveway, leaving the homeowners reeling after he almost struck them with their own vehicle.
The chase began yet again. Eventually, the pickup truck lost a front tire – but the defendant still refused to give up, smashing his way through traffic and speeding through red lights as if they were merely decorative street lamps. Finally, the truck came to a stop at a gas station, where it was promptly rammed by a patrol car. Dozens of additional police cruisers surrounded the gas station, and still, the defendant attempted to escape – reversing into a police car in an attempt to clear a path. By this point, the police were starting to lose their patience. They fired at the vehicle, which soon ignited and billowed smoke.
Concerned for everyone’s safety, the police immediately doused the engine fire with an extinguisher to avoid a potential explosion at the gas station. A few deputies then approached under the cover of a riot shield, opened the truck’s door, and pulled the defendant out of the vehicle. The suspect faces a total of 18 felony charges, including evading an officer and carjacking. It goes without saying that this is one of the most extreme examples of evading police, and crimes such as these will result in serious legal consequences.
Man Receives $650,00 Settlement After Police Chase: Then He Flees Again
In some cases, defendants can avoid criminal charges and even receive financial settlements if they can prove that the police acted in a negligent or excessive manner. On November 18th, it was reported that an Apple Valley man had received a $650,000 settlement after leading police on a chase through San Bernardino County. This police chase made headlines as the defendant transitioned to horseback riding after abandoning his stolen vehicle. This incident is notable because the suspect was filmed surrendering to the police but was mercilessly beaten by deputies despite presenting no danger to them. Because of this, the defendant’s conviction was dropped, and the deputies faced criminal charges. However, the individual now faces additional charges after sparking yet another police chase.
What are the Penalties for Evading an Officer in California?
Under California law, you could face either misdemeanor, or felony charges if you evade, flee, or elude a police officer. You may be imprisoned for up to one year in a county jail. To be prosecuted for this crime, the officer’s motor vehicle must be clearly marked as such. If the vehicle is not clearly marked as a police car, the officer must use flashing lights or a siren. If they fail to do any of these things, you cannot be prosecuted for evading an officer.
You will face much more serious consequences if you put other people in danger while evading a police officer. Show a blatant disregard for the safety of others, and you will face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney in San Bernardino?
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in San Bernardino, look no further than Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP. Over the years, we have assisted numerous defendants in the Golden State. We know that sometimes, individuals can react to dangerous situations without fully considering potential consequences. Evading an officer might seem like a very serious offense, but you still have the ability to fight for your rights effectively. Your chances of a favorable legal outcome could be much higher than you think. Book a consultation with us as soon as possible, and you can get started with an effective defense strategy.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.