What will an eluding the police charge mean if you get arrested for a DUI? It will turn the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. A conviction for eluding the police or attempting to flee is already bad enough. But when it involves leaving the state, driving over 20 miles an hour over the limit, hitting a car or pedestrian, or while driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, then the charge is elevated to a felony.
Eluding Police With A DUI?
If you have the police behind you trying to pull you over, you may be tempted to try and get away. After all, maybe you had too many beers, and even though you think you're driving just fine, if the police have you do a breath test, you'll blow over the limit and don't want to risk a DUI. But you should still pull over, because if you run, you may end up with a DUI and a felony eluding the police charge, which is much worse than a DUI on its own.
Georgia Code, O.C.G.A. 40-6-395, makes it unlawful to flee or attempt to elude a police officer. The problem is that an officer can mistakenly add this charge when they think a driver isn't pulling over fast enough. With such high penalties for eluding an officer, you shouldn't have to pay the price just because you didn't pull over fast enough.
When an officer gives a visual or audible signal to bring your motor vehicle to a stop, it is unlawful to willfully fail or refuse to bring your vehicle to a stop or otherwise flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or officer. Conviction under this law provides for up to a $5,000 fine, and a minimum of 10 days in jail, with the possible max of up to a year of jail time. A second or third conviction is even worse, with a minimum of 90 days in jail for a third offense.
However, the real problem occurs if the driver is charged with eluding while they are involved in some kind of dangerous driving. This changes the eluding charge to a felony. If any person is guilty of feeling or attempting to elude a police officer while:
- Driving in excess of 20 mph over the posted limit;
- Striking or colliding with another vehicle or a pedestrian;
- Fleeing in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk;
- Leaving the state; or
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In these cases, the eluding charge becomes a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for a minimum of one year, with up to 5 years possible imprisonment. This could also result in a felony conviction on your record, which can forever affect your employment prospects, education opportunities, and even whether you can own a gun.
Atlanta DUI and Eluding Police
When you see lights and sirens behind you, and you think you may be arrested for a DUI, remember DUI penalties are not as bad as a DUI with eluding the police. If you have been arrested for a DUI with an eluding charge, you need to consider all the penalties that come with conviction. You have defenses, and deserve to have to have someone fight for you. Contact an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney, who will fight to keep the felony charges off your record. Contact my office today, and I will fight for you.