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Fleeing and Eluding Charges in SC

a police car pulling over another driver

In South Carolina, fleeing and eluding is a serious criminal offense It is against the law for a driver not to stop when signaled by an officer. It is also illegal for a driver to try and escape from an officer in uniform after an audible signal. If charged, drivers can be fined, imprisoned, or face more serious charges like reckless driving. They could also lose their license for up to a year.

If you are facing charges for fleeing and eluding contact Touma Law Group's experienced Columbia criminal defense attorneys for more details. Call us at (864) 618-2323 to schedule a free consultation.

Definition of Fleeing and Eluding

"Fleeing and eluding" is a crime where someone intentionally tries to escape law enforcement while driving a motor vehicle, often through high-speed chases or evasive maneuvers. 

Overview of South Carolina’s Laws on Fleeing and Eluding

Convictions for fleeing and eluding traffic violations in South Carolina can result in jail time, making it important for individuals in the state to familiarize themselves with the laws. South Carolina law defines fleeing and eluding as failing to stop when signaled by a uniformed officer, increasing speed or attempting escape after being signaled, or attempting to elude a police vehicle with flashing lights and/or sirens or turning off vehicle lights.

How Does a Prosecutor Prove Charges for Evading Arrest?

Evading arrest is a serious crime in South Carolina. It can result in severe penalties. If someone runs away from law enforcement to avoid being arrested, they can be charged with evading arrest.

a police car turning its lights on to stop a driver

To prove these charges, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly tried to escape arrest by fleeing from the officers. First, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew the officers were present and had authority. They also need to show that the defendant willingly tried to elude or escape the officers by actions like speeding up or avoiding capture using a deadly weapon or inflicting a physical injury.

What Are the Penalties for Evading Arrest or Fleeing Police?

Evading arrest or fleeing from the police in South Carolina has severe penalties. Depending on the situation, you could face fines, prison sentences, and other punishments.

If caught, you can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a three-year jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Potential penalties in some cases, may be upgraded to a felony offense charge, carrying a sentence of up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Additionally, for a felony charge, your driver's license will likely be suspended or revoked for at least one year if convicted.

Misdemeanor Evading Arrest

Evading arrest in South Carolina is a serious charge. It means running from a police officer on seeing a blue light when they try and arrest you. If you're found guilty, you could go the jail for up to three years and/or pay a fine of up to $5,000.

Your driver's license might also get suspended or taken away for at least a year. If you've done this before or made things worse by inflicting bodily injury, the punishment can be even worse.

Felony Evading Arrest

Evading arrest in South Carolina is a serious crime. It involves running away from a law enforcement officer after being told to stop. The consequences of evading arrest can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how you drove and if you endangered others.

Felony evading arrest can result in up to five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. Your driver's license may also be suspended or revoked for at least a year. The severity of the punishment depends on the situation and any previous convictions or aggravating factors.

Defenses to Charges of Fleeing and Eluding in SC

In South Carolina, fleeing and eluding means not stopping when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle. This can include a verbal command, audible alarm, or flashing lights. If convicted, there are serious consequences such as jail time and fines. Fortunately, there are defenses for this crime in South Carolina. These include not knowing law enforcement was present or stopping as soon as aware.

Defendants can also argue valid reasons for not stopping, like fear or an emergency. Defenses depend on the case and South Carolina laws.

Unlawful Stop or Detention by Law Enforcement Officer

In South Carolina, fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer is a serious offense. It happens when someone refuses or fails, on purpose,  to stop their vehicle when an officer asks them. If a person is suspected of showing wanton disregard they can face severe legal consequences, like fines and jail time.

a man looking outside his car window after being pulled over

One important factor that can affect whether or not someone will be charged with fleeing and eluding is whether the stop is legal. If the officer didn't have a good reason for the stop, any charges of fleeing and eluding could be dropped.

Also, if the person stopped their vehicle but then ran away because of an illegal search or detention, they could challenge the charges based on this argument.

Reasonable Doubt about Intent to Avoid Arrest or Detention by Officer

One common defense in South Carolina fleeing and eluding charges is reasonable doubt about intent to avoid arrest or detention. To be found guilty, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to avoid arrest or detention. Proving intent can be challenging for prosecutors. If the evidence does not clearly show intent to evade, the defendant may have their charges reduced or dismissed.

How an Attorney Can Help With Fleeing and Eluding Charge

The charge of fleeing and eluding in South Carolina is serious. It involves running from the police or trying to avoid arrest. The consequences are heavy fines and potential jail time. A conviction can also affect future employment and criminal record. If you face this charge, it's vital to have a skilled lawyer.

At Touma Law Group, our criminal defense lawyers understand fleeing and eluding cases. We'll assess your situation and construct a strong defense. We aim to help you achieve the best outcome.

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