Drivers in North Carolina are expected to pull over to the side of the road when police turn on their siren. If you decide not to pull over, and speed away instead, you put yourself and others on the road in serious danger. As a result, speeding away from police to elude arrest can have serious criminal consequences.
If you are facing criminal charges for speeding to elude arrest, it is important to speak with an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney. You have the right to defend yourself against these criminal charges, and the attorneys at Caulder & Valentine can help. We know that your future is at risk and we will fight to minimize the negative effects of your arrest. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
Run and You're Done
In 2010, North Carolina passed what is known as the “Run and You're Done” law. Under this law, it is a crime to speed away from police in an effort to keep them from doing their job. Speeding to elude arrest, as described in N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 20-141.5, occurs when you:
- Operate a motor vehicle;
- On a street, highway, or public roadway;
- While fleeing or attempting to elude;
- A law enforcement officer who is in the lawful performance of his/her duties.
In simpler terms, this means that you are legally required to stop if an on-duty law enforcement officer orders you to stop. While the crime is known as “speeding to elude arrest,” you don't necessarily have to speed in order to break the law. You will be in violation of this law as long as you are attempting to flee or evade police.
Misdemeanor Speeding to Elude Arrest
Speeding to elude arrest, without the presence of any aggravating factors, is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If you are convicted of misdemeanor speeding to elude arrest, your criminal sentence may include:
- 120 days in jail;
- A discretionary criminal fine; and/or
- The suspension of your driver's license for up to one year.
Felony Speeding to Elude Arrest
Speeding to elude arrest will be charged as a Class H Felony if at least two of the following aggravating factors are present:
- Speeding more than 15 MPH over the speed limit;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (illicit drug consumption and/or BAC > 0.14 percent);
- Reckless driving (as described in G.S. 20-140);
- Negligent operation of a vehicle causing property damage and/or personal injury;
- Driving on a revoked license;
- Speeding through a school zone or highway work zone;
- Passing a stopped school bus; or
- Driving with a child in the vehicle who is under the age 12.
If you are convicted of felony speeding to elude arrest you will face up to 39 months in prison, be required to pay criminal fines, and will likely have your driver's license suspended for a period of two or three years. Police will also have the right to seize your vehicle, sell it at auction, and use the proceeds for the benefit of the state.
Speeding to Elude Arrest Resulting in Death
If you do not obey a law enforcement officer's commands to stop but instead try to escape, you put yourself and others at an increased risk of harm. If, while you are speeding away from police, you cause the death of another person, you will face felony criminal charges. Misdemeanor speeding to elude arrest will be aggravated to a Class H Felony if the act results in death. Felony speeding to elude arrest will be aggravated to a Class E Felony if the act results in death.
Defending Against Charges of Speeding to Elude Arrest
If you have been arrested and/or charged with speeding to elude arrest in North Carolina you have the right to defend yourself. The best defenses will help to justify and/or excuse the behavior you have been accused of committing and make it difficult for the prosecutor to meet their burden of proof.
Lack of Knowledge: In order to be convicted of speeding to elude arrest, you must have known that a law enforcement officer ordered you to pull over and/or was pursuing you. If you can prove that you were not aware that you had been ordered to stop, you may be able to defeat the charges.
Law Enforcement Officer in an Official Capacity: North Carolina law prohibits you from trying to flee from police who are actively engaged in their official duties. You may be able to defeat the charges if you did not know (and could not have reasonably known) that an officer was working in an official capacity.
Self Defense: There may be some situations when you are evading police, but are only doing so to protect yourself or a third person. If you were acting in self-defense or the defense of another person, you may be able to justify your criminal conduct. Prosecutors may be less likely to pursue criminal charges if you can justify your criminal conduct.
Absence of Aggravating Factors: In order to be convicted of felony speeding to elude arrest, prosecutors must be able to prove that you committed at least two of the aggravating factors in N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 20-141.5(b). You can limit the consequences of your arrest by establishing that these aggravating circumstances were not present.
Fight Speeding to Elude Arrest Charges in North Carolina
A criminal conviction for speeding to elude arrest will change your life forever. Once you completed the terms of your criminal sentence you will still have the burden of a criminal record. When you have a criminal record, it can be incredibly difficult to get a job, find safe housing, and even prevent you from taking advantage of helpful welfare benefits. If you have been charged with speeding to elude arrest, contact the North Carolina criminal defense attorneys at Caulder & Valentine for help. We will thoroughly investigate your charges, determine the best line of defense, and fight to protect your future. Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn more.