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Evading Arrest and Detention

Evading Arrest/Detention Meaning

Someone commits the crime of “Evading Detention or Arrest” by intentionally fleeing (running away) from a police officer, sheriff,correctional officer or a special federal investigator who is lawfully trying to detain, capture or arrest them. An evading arrest conviction can also occur when someone:

  • Falsifies their identity by modifying an official document
  • Avoids a travel ban by altering an official document

When charged with evading arrest, the criminal consequences will add up to the initial charge the police officer has been authorized to investigate the offender for. Flight is a crime only if the suspect has been arrested or detained. The difference between the two is:

  • Detention happens when someone is briefly stopped by the police (for a traffic violation, for example)
  • An arrest takes place when the police stop someone and that person is not free to leave

Related Offenses to Evading Arrest

Closely-Related Offenses

Evading arrest is closely related to other criminal offenses that often accompany it, such as:

  • Resisting arrest
  • Battery
  • Hindering apprehension or prosecution

For instance, someone who flees from the police and forcefully resists while the officer arrests them could be charged with both resisting AND evading arrest. When the offender flees the police and hides another suspect or evidence, they’ll be charged with both hindering arrest or prosecution AND evading arrest. If the officer sustains injuries, the culprit could also be accused of Battery Against a Police Officer, which is a separate crime. With the help of criminal records, you can find detailed information about offenders' arrests, criminal charges, convictions, and more.


What's the Difference Between Evading and Resisting Arrest?

"Evading Arrest or Detention" is different than "Resisting Arrest, Search, or Transportation" which occurs when an individual uses any type of force or violence to intentionally obstruct or prevent law enforcement officers from carrying out a lawful search, an arrest or transport them or another person. If the offender uses a deadly firearm while resisting the arrest, what’s regularly classified as a Class A misdemeanor would be upgraded to a felony charge. Struggling, hitting, striking, kicking or punching when a police officer tries to handcuff or arrest you – all these qualify as “resisting arrest”.


Evading Arrest Charges & Aggravating Circumstances

Sentencing and Aggravating Circumstances

Most cases of evading arrest or detention are the consequence of someone fleeing on foot. Typically, this crime is a Class A misdemeanor and it’s sanctioned with a maximum fine of $1,000 or $4,000 (depending on the state) and up to 1 year behind bars. The court could also restrict or suspend the accused’s driver's license as a term of probation and impound their car for a maximum period of 30 days. The following aggravating factors could rise an Evading Arrest or Detention misdemeanor to a third-degree felony level:

  • Previous convictions for the same crime, resisting arrest, flight, or obstruction
  • Using a watercraft or a motor vehicle to evade arrest
  • Using a tire deflation device against the officer while trying to escape
  • Causing severe bodily injuries to a bystander or officer while fleeing

Third-degree felony sentences will send the perpetrator to prison for 2 to 10 years and have them pay a $10,000 fine. Moreover, if someone dies as a direct result of the attempt to evade detention, the offense rises to a second-degree felony, punishable with between 2 and 20 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.


Evading the Police: Consequences

Conviction Requirements

A conviction for evading a police officer can only occur if the following details are proven:

  • The police officer was wearing a distinctive uniform;
  • The police officer was following the accused from a marked police car, bicycle or motorcycle;
  • The defendant was aware of being chased by a police officer;
  • The suspect had a specific intent to elude the officer;
  • The offender deliberately fled or attempted to escape the police officer;
  • The police car sounded the car’s siren loud enough (at least 115 decibels) and displayed at least 1 red light visible from the front;
  • The wrongdoer couldn’t have missed the police car’s red light.

As an example, if an undercover cop “ambushes” the offender, the fleeing suspect cannot be charged with evading arrest or detention.

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