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West Michigan

Fleeing And Eluding

Fleeing And Eluding Michigan

Anytime someone thinks of fleeing and eluding, they almost always think of a person who is running away from the police. If you see fleeing and eluding in the movies, it is almost always a good guy who is running away from the cops. The person running away from the cops knows that if the police catch him, his story will not be believed, and he will be taken away to jail.

In Michigan if you do what is described above, you might be charged with resisting and obstructing. So, what does fleeing and eluding mean under Michigan law? Let’s take a look at the law.

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What Is Fleeing And Eluding?

A driver of a motor vehicle who does not stop for a police officer or a conservation officer in a willful manner, is guilty of fleeing and eluding. A law enforcement officer could be using his emergency lights, siren, hand or any other visual or audible signal for a person to pull over. If you are running away from a police officer by foot, you are not fleeing and eluding. This charge can only be applied to a person who is in a motor vehicle and does not stop when told to do so by a law enforcement officer.  

 There are four degrees of this charge in Michigan. These degrees explain what elements are needed for a person to be convicted of the charge and what the possible punishment is for the charge. Possible punishments include incarceration, fines, costs and probation.

According to Michigan law found at Motor Vehicle Code

The Motor Vehicle Code

Sec. 602a.

  (1) A driver of a motor vehicle who is given by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren a visual or audible signal by a police or conservation officer, acting in the lawful performance of his or her duty, directing the driver to bring his or her motor vehicle to a stop shall not willfully fail to obey that direction by increasing the speed of the motor vehicle, extinguishing the lights of the motor vehicle, or otherwise attempting to flee or elude the officer. This subsection does not apply unless the police or conservation officer giving the signal is in uniform and the officer’s vehicle is identified as an official police or department of natural resources vehicle.

  (2) Except as provided in subsection (3), (4), or (5), an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

  (3) Except as provided in subsection (4) or (5), an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of third-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both, if 1 or more of the following circumstances apply:

  (a) The violation results in a collision or accident.

  (b) A portion of the violation occurred in an area where the speed limit is 35 miles an hour or less, whether that speed limit is posted or imposed as a matter of law.

  (c) The individual has a prior conviction for fourth degree fleeing and eluding, attempted fourth degree fleeing and eluding, or fleeing and eluding under a current or former law of this state prohibiting substantially similar conduct.

  (4) Except as provided in subsection (5), an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of second-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both, if 1 or more of the following circumstances apply:

  (a) The violation results in serious injury to an individual.

  (b) The individual has 1 or more prior convictions for first-, second-, or third-degree fleeing and eluding, attempted first-, second-, or third-degree fleeing and eluding, or fleeing and eluding under a current or former law of this state prohibiting substantially similar conduct.

  (c) The individual has any combination of 2 or more prior convictions for fourth degree fleeing and eluding, attempted fourth degree fleeing and eluding, or fleeing and eluding under a current or former law of this state prohibiting substantially similar conduct.

  (5) If the violation results in the death of another individual, an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of first-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.

  (6) A conviction under this section does not prohibit a conviction and sentence under any other applicable provision, except section 479a(2), (3), (4), or (5) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.479a, for conduct arising out of the same transaction.

  (7) As used in this section, “serious injury” means a physical injury that is not necessarily permanent, but that constitutes serious bodily disfigurement or that seriously impairs the functioning of a body organ or limb. Serious injury includes, but is not limited to, 1 or more of the following:

  (a) Loss of a limb or use of a limb.

  (b) Loss of a hand, foot, finger, or thumb or use of a hand, foot, finger, or thumb.

  (c) Loss of an eye or ear or use of an eye or ear.

  (d) Loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function.

  (e) Serious visible disfigurement.

  (f) A comatose state that lasts for more than 3 days.

  (g) Measurable brain damage or mental impairment.

  (h) A skull fracture or other serious bone fracture.

  (i) Subdural hemorrhage or hematoma.

Remember, there are two very important facts to keep in mind in regard to fleeing and eluding in Michigan:

  1. Fleeing and eluding is a driving related crime. Convictions of this nature impact your driving privileges. A third- or fourth-degree conviction will cause you to have a license suspension. A second of first-degree conviction will result in your license being revoked.  
  2. This law also hammers people on speed boats. The penalties are almost exactly the same.

What To Do About These Charges

Many criminal defense attorneys try to get these charged reduced to attempted fleeing and eluding because they are under the false assumption that the charge will be dropped to a misdemeanor. If the charge is brought up under the Motor Vehicle Code, it is not able to be reduced to a misdemeanor.

If you are charged under the crime by the model penal code, a fourth degree fleeing, and eluding can be reduced to a misdemeanor. A conviction of this offense will result in the Secretary of State issuing six points on your record.   Your license will be suspended for a year. If you are convicted for a first- or second-degree charge, you will have your license revoked for a year.

Do not face this charge alone. Call Shawn today at 616-438-6719. The call is free, and you have too much to lose by facing this charge by yourself. Shawn or one of his experienced criminal defense lawyers will be happy to help you out!

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Criminal Defense Law Center West Michigan

Attorney Shawn Haff
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