California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 VC: Reckless Evading Of A Peace Officer

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimereckless evasion crime

While evading a peace officer is always a criminal offense, if the act of evading involves reckless driving conduct, the defendant can be charged with a more serious felony offense under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 VC.

In order to prove a defendant is guilty of reckless evading of a peace officer, the following elements must exist:

  1. A peace officer driving a motor vehicle or bicycle was pursuing the defendant
  2. The defendant, who was driving a motor vehicle, willfully fled from, or tried to elude, the officer, intending to evade the officer
  3. During the pursuit, the defendant drove with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
  4. AND all of the following are true
    1. There was at least one lighted red lamp visible from the front of the peace officer’s vehicle
    2. The defendant either saw or reasonably should have seen the lamp
    3. The peace officer’s vehicle was sounding a siren as reasonably necessary
    4. The peace officer’s vehicle was distinctively marked
    5. AND the peace officer was wearing a distinctive uniform

A person acts with wanton disregard for safety when he or she is aware that his or her actions present a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm and he or she intentionally ignores that risk. This would include causing damage to property while driving or committing three or more traffic violations during the act of evasion.

2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Evading a Peace Officer - California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 VC
  2. Evading a Peace Officer and Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury – California Vehicle Code Section 2800.3 VC
  3. Reckless Driving – California Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC
  4. Resisting Arrest – California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC
3. Examples

A man is driving home from the bar after a night of drinking when he notices flashing red lights in his rearview mirror. The man is afraid that he will be charged with DUI so he speeds up to avoid being caught. The man increases his speed to over 100 miles per hour, in addition to running red lights and stops signs. The man could be charged with recklessly evading an officer in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 VC because he evaded the officer and committed at least three different traffic violations while he did this.

4. Defenses to Reckless Evading of a Peace Officer

If the defendant did not have the specific intent to evade the officer, that defendant would not be guilty of this offense. Additionally, there may be circumstances where a defendant is being forced to drive against his or her will because he or she is being threatened by another passenger in the vehicle. In these situations, the defendant may have a valid duress defense if charged criminally.

5. Penalties

Reckless evading of a peace officer is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the underlying factual circumstances and the defendant’s criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by a minimum of six months and a maximum of one year in jail in addition to a $10,000 fine. If charged and convicted of a felony, a defendant can be sentenced to up to three years in prison. In addition, the defendant’s car can be impounded for up to thirty days.

6. Criminal Defense for Reckless Evading of a Peace Officer Cases

Reckless evading of a peace officer is a serious offense that carries mandatory jail sentences for anyone convicted. If you have been charged with this offense, it is very important that you speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is highly skilled at representing clients charged with offenses like this. Mr. Kraut is well-known throughout the court system as a tough litigator who possesses a deep knowledge of the law. Mr. Kraut works tirelessly to ensure that his clients receive the best legal representation possible.

For more information about reckless evading of a peace officer and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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