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DUI and Fleeing / Evading Police in Los Angeles


DUI and Fleeing/Evading Police in Los Angeles

Getting pulled over by the police can be an anxiety-inducing experience for anyone. But for some, the fear and panic leads them to make the impulsive decision to flee from the police. This act of fleeing or evading the police, especially while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, can lead to serious criminal charges in Los Angeles.

In this article, we’ll break down the laws, penalties, and defenses for DUI and fleeing/evading police in Los Angeles. We’ll also discuss the common mistakes people make and provide some tips on what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

DUI Charges

Let’s start with the basics. DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in California is 0.08% for drivers over 21 and 0.01% for drivers under 21.

Some common DUI penalties in California include:

  • Up to 6 months in jail for a first offense misdemeanor DUI
  • Fines up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments
  • Driver’s license suspension up to 10 months
  • DUI classes and treatment programs
  • Ignition interlock device installation

If there are injuries or a subsequent offense, DUI charges can be elevated to a felony with more severe consequences like state prison time.

Fleeing and Evading Police

In addition to a DUI, fleeing or evading the police can lead to criminal charges under California Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC or 2800.2 VC:

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  • VC 2800.1 is a misdemeanor for fleeing while driving recklessly.
  • VC 2800.2 is a wobbler offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony for fleeing in a willful and wanton disregard for safety.

Penalties if convicted may include:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail for VC 2800.1
  • 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison for VC 2800.2 as a felony
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • License suspension up to 5 years

Why People Flee from Police

There are many reasons why someone may panic and flee when seeing those flashing red and blue lights:

  • Fear of getting a DUI
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Probation terms being violated
  • Illegal items in the car
  • Simply panicking and not thinking clearly

While understandable, fleeing almost always makes the situation worse both legally and safety-wise. Police chases put officers, bystanders and the driver at great risk.

What to Do If You’re Pulled Over

If you see those police lights come on behind you, take some deep breaths and follow these tips:

  • Pull over safely and quickly
  • Turn off the car and roll down the windows
  • Keep your hands on the wheel until directed otherwise
  • Be cooperative and respectful with the officer
  • Don’t admit to anything or consent to a search
  • Ask if you are free to leave or are under arrest
  • Invoke your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer if arrested

Staying calm and exercising your rights is the smartest thing you can do during a police stop.

Legal Defenses

If you are facing charges of fleeing/evading police and DUI, an experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the details of your case and build a strong legal defense. Some common defenses include:

  • No probable cause for the stop – If the officer didn’t have sufficient legal grounds to initiate the traffic stop in the first place, any evidence obtained after can be suppressed.
  • No proof you were the driver – The prosecution must prove you were driving beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • No reckless driving – For VC 2800.1, the driving must objectively be found to be reckless, not just fleeing.
  • Necessity – You may have fled due to a reasonable fear for your safety.
  • No actual evading occurred – If you pulled over promptly or were unaware the officer was trying to stop you, then you weren’t willfully evading.
  • No DUI – You can fight the DUI charges if errors occurred in the traffic stop, field sobriety tests, or chemical test.

An experienced DUI and evading police lawyer will carefully examine the arrest details to build the strongest defense to get charges reduced or dismissed.

Getting Legal Help

Being charged with evading police and DUI in Los Angeles can have devastating effects on your life. These are complex cases that require an assertive and strategic legal defense. Don’t leave your future to chance – consult with a criminal defense lawyer right away to protect your rights.

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