A fairly common spectacle on the news, especially in Southern California, is a high speed chase. Whenever a high speed chase begins, news stations send their helicopters to follow it. This leads to thousands of people watching the pursuit with baited breath, waiting to see what will happen next and how it will all end.
The sight has become so common, that some people have begun to think that running from the police might be a good idea. This is despite the fact that every chase either ends with the suspect being caught, or sent to the hospital. Neither of those are great outcomes. Plus, they come with worse consequences than whatever crime the runner might have been trying to avoid.
Running from the police is illegal. As such, running will only make things worse for a person.
California Vehicle Code 2800
Here in the state of California, Vehicle Code 2800 defines what counts as evading a police officer. There are a few different levels to this law, Vehicle Code 2800.1, Vehicle Code 2800.2, and Vehicle Code 2800.3.
Under Vehicle Code 2800.1, a person is guilty of misdemeanor evading a police officer if they were driving, saw a police vehicle flashing at least one red light at them and blaring a siren, and then willfully fleeing from that officer.
Under Vehicle Code 2800.2, a person is guilty of felony evading of a police officer if they do the above, and display disregard for the safety of other people and property. Basically, this is the crime people are guilty of when they have really intense police pursuits that almost cause accidents.
Lastly, under Vehicle Code 2800.3, a person is guilty of evading causing injury if while evading the police, they cause severe bodily harm to someone or kill another individual.
Penalties For Evading Police Officers
Based off of its name, Vehicle Code 2800.1, misdemeanor evading a police officer, this crime is charged as a misdemeanor. It comes with the following consequences.
- Up to 1 year in county jail.
- A max fine of $1,000.
- Misdemeanor probation.
- Having the vehicle impounded for 30 days.
Despite what the name of Vehicle Code 2800.2, felony evading of a police officer, suggests, it is actually a wobbler crime. This means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. Most of the time, it is charged as a felony. As a felony, a person will face the following charges:
- 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
- A max fine of $10,000.
Vehicle Code 2800.3 is also a wobbler. It can be charged as a misdemeanor if a person only suffered severe injuries. If someone was killed, it is always charged as a felony. When someone is injured, the felony consequences are:
- 3, 5, or 7 years in state prison.
If someone is killed, the prison sentence options become 4, 6, or 10 years.
It is important to remember that these charges likely won’t be the only charges that a person faces when caught evading the police. They will also have to face charges for the original reason why the officer attempted to pull them over in the first place.
Watching a police pursuit on TV may be entertaining, but it is never a good idea for a person to run from the police. Doing so only makes the person’s situation worse. Once caught, because the person never gets away in a car, the person will face charges for running on top of facing charges for whatever caught the officer’s attention in the first place.
The best thing for a person to do is to pullover when an officer signals them to. If the person gets in trouble for something, it is better than getting in trouble for that and attempting to flee.
What do you think of California’s laws against evading police officers?
Are they too much, or not enough? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.