When the officer behind you turned on his signal lights, you knew you were in trouble. So you decided to ignore the signal and try to get away. The officer caught you anyway, and now you have a fleeing and eluding charge on top of other offenses.
What is fleeing and eluding? What can you do?
Under 625 ILCS 5/11-204, you commit fleeing and eluding if an officer has signaled you to stop, you willfully fail to obey, increase you speed, extinguish your lights or otherwise flee or attempt to elude the officer. The officer must be in uniform, and if the officer is driving a vehicle, the vehicle must flash its lights when they are used with a horn or siren.
Fleeing and eluding is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable up to one year in jail. The Secretary of State must also suspend your driver’s license for up to six months for a first offense and up to one year for a second. Third or higher offenses are a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison.
If you are charged with fleeing and eluding or 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 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? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you can 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 email 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.)