If you are charged with Flight from Police there are a number of possible favourable resolutions to your situation. The result of your case will depend on the factual allegations and whether the Crown can prove all elements of the charge. We have defended and won for numerous clients facing a charge of Flight from Police over many years of criminal defense experience.
249.1 (1) Everyone commits an offence who, operating a motor vehicle while being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle, fails, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.
(2) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1)
If you are convicted of willfully avoiding police when an officer gives pursuit, you can face more serious penalties which could be a fine between $5,000 and $25,000 as well as a minimum imprisonment for a term of not less than 14 days and not more than six months. In addition, a driver’s licence will be suspended for five years, or 10 years to lifetime if there was death or bodily harm to any person.
If the court makes a finding of guilt under s. 216(1) and is satisfied that on the evidence the accused continued to wilfully evade police after the office gave pursuit the accused will face more serious consequences.
Failure to stop for police under the Highway Traffic Act is categorized as a “strict liability”offence. Therefore if you can satisfy the court that you had a reasonable belief that you were not being pursued by the police then you would be found not guilty.
There are very few legal defenses to evading a police officer. You should consider all of them before you accept a plea bargain agreement. Your attorney will apply these defenses to help you become acquitted, per the facts of your case. Some of these defenses are:
A prosecutor needs to prove intent or in legal jargon mens rea. That is, the police need to prove you intended to flee the pursuing officer. If you were speeding and saw a police car behind you in the distance, but not aware it was pursuing you, you can’t be convicted of evading the police.
If you were involved in an emergency and did not pull over because it could have impacted your safety or the safety of another, then your attorney can raise this defense on your behalf. Say, for example, you were speeding to take your wife to the hospital who was in labor, and a police officer attempted to pull you over. You were worried about the safety of your wife and child, so you kept driving until you reached the hospital. This could be a valid defense.
The province must prove that your arrest or detention was lawful. If you end up being arrested and your only charge is Evading Arrest or Detention, then that should make the jurors wonder if you were even trying to evade the police in the first place. Generally speaking, a person guilty of a crime is the kind of person who will intentionally try to evade arrest or detention, not someone who committed no crime but for the failure to notice the police sirens.
The next element of the crime that is often susceptible to defeat is whether the red light was visible and the siren was loud enough. The siren must be at least 115 decibels, so evidence of its recent calibration and testing to this level or above should be established by the prosecution.the officer is wearing a distinctive uniform. A plainclothes officer, for example, who puts on a baseball cap with the words “Police” on it and a badge may be sufficient, even though a badge is not considered clothing. Arguably, if the officer was in plainclothes and only wore a badge, this would not be enough to satisfy the elements of this crime.
You can decide to tell the court that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs while evading the police officer. This way, the court will know that you were not in the right state of mind; therefore, you had no specific and willful intent to evade the officer.
Whenever you’re facing criminal charges, it’s in your best interests to consult with a lawyer. A charge of evading the police carries serious and immediate consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can investigate the charges against and negotiate on your behalf. Get started today and find an experienced criminal lawyer near you.
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