There’s a huge, palpable feeling of fear during a traffic stop, and that anxiety goes both ways!
Citizens fear police consequences and violence, while police also fear what they’re facing. This fear drives both parties to protect themselves. For some, this instinct to flee could result in criminal charges like eluding an officer.
Make no mistake about it, though. You won’t be able to use instincts as a defense against fleeing and eluding charges. You’ll need to construct a much better defense to avoid fleeing and eluding penalties.
Are you wondering what potential penalties you could face after an arrest? Read on to get informed.
1. Prison Sentence
Immediately upon getting arrested for fleeing to elude charge, you’ll get taken to jail. Within a few days, you’ll have an initial hearing where a judge will set a bail amount.
For many, this is a relief because they can make bail and work on a defense strategy. For countless others that can’t make bail, it means an extended prison term until their court date.
The Bureau of Justice reported that 65% of inmates were awaiting trial in 2019.
When you’re charged with fleeing to elude, you should expect bail to be significant. After all, the judge will see you as a flight risk since you are already accused of trying to run away.
What’s more, your charges are a felony crime. These serious offenses come with higher bail amounts.
If you do get convicted, then you’ll serve even more prison time after your court date. In Tampa, you can serve up to five years in prison for fleeing and eluding.
2. Probation Term
If no aggravating factors exist in your case, then you might not serve much prison time. Instead, you could get sentenced to a very long probation term.
Per Tampa law, you can serve up to five years on probation for general fleeing to elude convictions.
Probation means that you will not get imprisoned but you’ll still face restrictions. Expect to meet with your probation officer on a weekly or monthly basis. You may also be subject to the following terms:
- Allowing probation officers to come to your home or workplace
- Remaining employed during probation
- Paying any court-ordered restitution, penalties, or fines
- Not traveling outside of the county or city
- Submitting to drug or alcohol testing
- Refraining from committing any new crimes
- Not possessing or buying any firearms
Any violations of your terms of probation could lead to your arrest. You’ll face more criminal charges and likely end up in prison or jail.
What’s more, felony probation is stricter than other types of probation. Expect more frequent and intense monitoring.
As if imprisonment or probation weren’t enough, you’ll face more criminal consequences. These will come in the form of significant court fines and penalties.
With eluding charges, expect to face fines of up to $5,000. If sirens got activated and you were driving recklessly, then the fine might double.
Did you actually cause an accident while fleeing? Were others injured or was property damaged? If so, then you might face more financial penalties in civil court.
If injured individuals seek out a claim, then you might be liable for their losses. In that case, you’ll need to stay up to date with this civil settlement to remain in good standing.
4. License Suspension
Another consequence of your arrest will be an automatic license suspension.
This suspension can last anywhere from one to five years. You will not have driving rights, which could impact work and personal relationships.
You do have the right to a DMV hearing if you request one, though. You’ll need to request this hearing within 30 days of your arrest. Otherwise, an automatic suspension will occur.
There’s a chance you can ask for a hardship license, which will allow you to get to work. This will only work if you have a stable job, though. It’s best to hire a lawyer to help with your DMV hearing.
5. A Loss of Civil and Constitutional Rights
All the penalties above are harsh, but they aren’t all you’ll contend with. Fleeing a traffic stop is a felony offense.
Felony arrests come with very specific consequences. If you get convicted, then you could lose certain civil and Constitutional rights. After your conviction, you’ll lose the following rights:
- Possessing or owning a firearm
- Unrestricted international travel
- Ability to serve on a jury
- Applying for public assistance or housing
- Right to be free from discrimination for employment purposes
- Right to qualify for financial loans
Per Florida law, losing these rights is automatic and instant if you get convicted. Any violations of these conditions will result in more criminal charges against you.
It might be possible to regain your rights in the future if you expunge your record. This process is long, tedious, and not guaranteed. If you’re considering expungement, then you’ll want an attorney’s help.
6. A Loss of Future Opportunities
The criminal and civil penalties of a fleeing and eluding conviction are hefty. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll likely suffer personal consequences for years to come.
Convicted felons struggle when it comes to finding stable employment. What’s more, your personal relationships will suffer after prison or probation.
Even once you’ve served your time, the ghost of your conviction will limit your opportunities. You might feel limited in where you can work, live, and be yourself.
Coping With Fleeing and Eluding Charges in Tampa
The penalties associated with fleeing and eluding an officer are significant. Considering your charge is a felony offense, the consequences couldn’t get much worse!
From prison time to losing civil rights, your sentence could be harsh. The best way to avoid the worst penalties is to hire a criminal defense lawyer to help.
Here at RHINO Lawyers, we value your freedom and understand what’s at stake. We’ll fight to work towards the best possible legal outcome in your situation.
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RHINO Lawyers can help and guide you through a system molded by law enforcement, judges, and lawyers for decades. Having won cases for our clients in similar circumstances, our criminal defense team knows what it takes to fight on your behalf.
Let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at (844) RHINO-77.