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Attempting to Elude

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There are not a lot of crimes that I've committed or almost been charged with but....

I've almost been charged with Attempting to Elude and, on a separate occasion, I ran from the police.

I'm driving home early one day. Normally the road to my house is a 45 mile an hour speed limit... except during school hours. It was around 3 o'clock and I was driving about 42 miles an hour.

 I see a cop standing in the road. He's directing me to make a left into a neighborhood. I give him a "what are you talking about look"? But he looks pretty insistent so I figure there must be some sort of roadwork ahead so I take the left.

 I'm driving blissfully along when I noticed in my rear-view mirror the cop is booking it to his police car. He jumps in and heads the same direction as me. I figure he must be after someone.  I pull over. So does he.

 Next thing I know, he jumps out, comes to my car yelling at me. "Why didn't you stop?" 

 I told him the truth. I thought he was just directing me off the road because of some sort of construction. I didn't know he was trying to stop me.

 Well, apparently since it was still about 3 o'clock the speed limit was under 40 miles an hour and I was speeding. The cop told me was going to write me for attempting to flee in elude but "since I stopped" he wasn't going to do that.

 Of course, that brings me to our first point. 

 This crime can be committed two ways.

 It's unlawful if, while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway in the state of Alabama to intentionally flee or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer after you received a signal from the officer to bring the vehicle to a stop. 

 If he charged me, would I have been guilty?

 In my case, I did not intentionally flee from the officer.  I don't think pointing to another road counts as a "signal from the officer to bring the vehicle to a stop". Would I have won in court? Who knows? If the officer claimed that he clearly told me with verbal commands to stop and the judge believed the officer (whether true or not) I might have been found guilty. One plus one doesn't always equal two in a courtroom.

Was I guilty of attempting to flee or elude that time I ran from the cops?

Okay, I admit it, I've run from the cops.

 While I've not made a career of running from the police, I have run from them.

 When I was a young man one of my best friends who I will call "Dirty Bernie", decided it would be great fun to throw in an M- 80 firecracker under an occupied police car. I heard that M-80 go off as I was running away. Let's just say the cops were not amused.

I decided not to stick around and find out their exact opinions.

 So here's the question. Was I guilty of attempting to flee or elude when I ran from the cops?

 The answer is no. Why? Because under Alabama law while I did intentionally flee from the cops, I did not know if the officer was attempting to arrest me. And like a lot of young men, sometimes when the PO-lice show up and your friends are causing trouble, running seems like a good idea. At least a better idea than sticking around and risking getting arrested for something you didn't do.

 So what's the law? Under Alabama law, it is unlawful for any person to intentionally flee (by any means) from anyone the person knows to be a law enforcement officer if that person knows the officer is attempting to arrest them. Since I truly didn't know if the officers were going to arrest me I would've had a pretty good defense against attempting to elude. As for Dirty Bernie, not so much- he did get arrested.By the way, I was not really locked up! 

  Of course, there are more defenses to this particular crime and there are other ways of resolving these charges.

 If you do find yourself in a jam and you want our help just contact us here:

 If you'd like to read the entire law, here it is:

 Fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement officer.

Fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement officer.

 (a) It shall be unlawful for a person to intentionally flee by any means from anyone the person knows to be a law enforcement officer if the person knows the officer is attempting to arrest the person.

 (b) It shall be unlawful for a person while operating a motor vehicle on a street, road, alley, or highway in this state, to intentionally flee or attempt to elude a law enforcement officer after having received a signal from the officer to bring the vehicle to a stop.

 (c) A violation of subsection (a) or (b) is a Class A misdemeanor unless the flight or attempt to elude causes an actual death or physical injury to innocent bystanders or third parties, in which case the violation shall be a Class C felony. In addition, the court shall order the suspension of the driver's license of the defendant for a period of not less than six months nor more than two years.

 Code of Alabama section 13A-10-52 

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