June 4, 2022

Eluding

Eluding the police is when a person continues to drive in a willful and wanton manner disregarding the police officer’s signal.

To be convicted of eluding, the Commonwealth must prove the individual heard the signal or saw the lights and knew that the person signaling him was a police officer, and then disregarded the signal by continuing to drive. The Commonwealth can also prove this by showing evidence that the individual fled on foot after stopping the vehicle.

An affirmative defense to eluding is that the person reasonably believed that he or she was being chased by someone who was not a law enforcement officer.

Penalties for Eluding the Police in Virginia

Misdemeanor

Eluding is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor. A conviction for misdemeanor eluding is potential jail time of up to six months and a possible fine of $1,000.

The individual may also have a suspension of driving privileges for 30 days to a year if convicted of eluding. If during the eluding the individual’s speed exceeds the posted limit by 20mph, then the minimum license suspension is 90 days.

The individual may also be charged with any criminal offense they commit in addition to eluding.

Felony

Eluding is charged as a felony offense if it results in the risk of accident or injury involving the law enforcement officer. If an individual continues to drive intentionally and recklessly that could create a danger, the person will be charged with a Class 6 felony.

An individual convicted of felony eluding may endure a penalty of one to five years in prison in addition to a possible fine of up to $2,500.

If an officer is killed because of pursuing an eluding individual, the charge is a Class 4 felony. The penalty carries a two to ten year prison sentence and a possible fine of up to $100,000.

The individual may also have a suspension of driving privileges for 30 days to a year if convicted of eluding. If during the eluding the individual’s speed exceeds the posted limit by 20mph, then the minimum license suspension is 90 days.

Virginia Code

46.2-817 Disregarding Signal by Law Enforcement Officer to Stop; Eluding Police; Penalties – § 46.2-817. Disregarding signal by law-enforcement officer to stop; eluding police; penalties (virginia.gov)
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