26th Aug 2016
A criminal defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale is the first line of defense when facing serious charges such as fleeing and eluding a police officer. A criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale can explain what constitutes this crime, ways the crime can be enhanced with additional charges or penalties and what defenses may exist.
Elements of Fleeing a Police Officer
The Florida statute on fleeing and eluding a police officer contains three central elements. The first element is that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle on a Florida highway or street. The second is that the law enforcement officer ordered the defendant to stop while on duty. The third element is that the defendant knew that he was ordered to stop by the police officer and willfully did not do so or stopped and then fled in an attempt to elude the police officer.
When a person attempts to escape from police, he or she may participate in additional risky behavior that may be criminal. For example, if he or she initiates a high speed chase, the lives of others and the law enforcement officer are put at risk. He or she may be charged with reckless driving even if no one is hurt or with reckless driving causing serious bodily injury or death if someone is hurt or killed in the process. Additional punishments are possible if the law enforcement officer activated his or her sirens and lights.
Defenses to Fleeing a Police Officer
Many of the potential defenses rely on attacking the elements of the crime. For example, the defendant may not have been aware that the law enforcement officer was trying to stop him or her. The law enforcement officer may have been wearing plain clothes and may not have been recognized as a duly authorized law enforcement officer. There may be extenuating circumstances in which the driver may not have been able to stop.