In Illinois, fleeing and eluding a peace officer means that the officer signaled you to stop and you willfully failed to obey, increased your speed, extinguished your lights or otherwise fled or attempted to elude the officer. The officer must be in uniform, and if the officer is driving, his or her vehicle must flash its lights when used with a horn or siren. (See 625 ILCS 5/11-204).
Your offense becomes aggravated if you do any of the following when trying to escape:
- drive speeding more than 21 miles over the limit,
- you commit more than $300 in property damage,
- you cause bodily injury,
- you disobey more than two traffic control devices, or
- you conceal or alter your vehicle’s registration.
(See 625 ILCS 5/11-204.1).
Fleeing and eluding becomes a Class 4 felony on your third or later offense. However, aggravated fleeing and eluding is a Class 4 felony on a first offense. For both offenses, the Secretary of State can revoke your driver’s license, and the police may seize your car.
If you are charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal or traffic law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. As with most crimes, the state must prove you guilty of all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Was the officer in uniform? Did the officer display the proper signals? Was your failure to obey willful or was there a legitimate reason you failed to stop? Did you really try to get away or were you looking for a safe place to pull over? Can the state prove you caused the damage and that the damage exceeded $300? Or that you altered the vehicle’s registration?
Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)