Consequences of Fleeing From an Officer

By Rebekah Worsham

Regardless of the cause, fleeing from a police officer is never a wise idea. Fleeing from a law enforcement officer for the purpose of resisting arrest or avoiding questioning constitutes willful resistance and is considered a crime in most municipalities. Although laws vary by state, fleeing from an officer can typically lead to serious consequences including criminal sanctions and financial penalties.

Criminal Charges

Unless clear and convincing evidence can be shown that a defendant charged with fleeing from police did so under justifiable causes, criminal charges may be brought against the defendant for willful resistance and resisting arrest. If the defendant flees by vehicle and exceeds the speed limit, additional charges may be brought against the defendant for reckless driving and use of the vehicle as a dangerous weapon, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Fines

Penalties for fleeing from law enforcement almost always includes fines. These fines typically include court costs, traffic citations if the defendant fled by car and punitive fines of one thousand dollars or more, depending on whether or not the defendant has fled form police before. If these fines go unpaid, this can lead to additional criminal charges for contempt of court.

Community Service

Another common punishment applied to individuals who have been convicted of fleeing from a police officer is court ordered community service. Court ordered community service is a set number of hours that must be served to an public service agency as mandated by the court. Public service assignments typically include duties that are designed to benefit the community and the defendant receives no pay for the services they provide. Failure to complete court ordered community service hours may lead to additional charges and fines for contempt of court.

Criminal Record

Regardless of whether a defendant who has been charged with fleeing from police serves jail time or is placed on probation, he will incur a record of arrest. This arrest is a matter of public record and may prevent the defendant from obtaining work in certain fields. The only way to have the arrest removed from the defendant's permanent record would be to have the defendant's record expunged, which is typically only available to individuals who were charged with a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony and only after a period of time as mandated by individual state law.

Loss of Driving Privelages

Being convicted of fleeing from police may also result in a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges, depending on the nature of the offense. This is particularly common if the defendant fled police through the use of a vehicle or if the defendant is charged with a felony. Depending on the nature of the offense, revocation of the defendant's license may be temporary, for a specific period of time, or permanent.

About the Author

Rebekah Worsham began writing professionally in 2007 and has been published on eHow. She has expertise in the fields of law, parapsychology and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She holds a degrees in law from Beckfield College.