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Criminal Defense Information for Evading (Cal. Vehicle Code s. 2800.1)

  1. What is Evading Police?
  2. What are the necessary elements to be found guilty of Evading?
  3. What is the sentence / punishment for Evading a police officer?
  4. What are possible defenses to charges of Evading a police officer?
  1. What is Evading Police?

    Any driver who willfully flees or attempts to elude a pursuing police officer's motor vehicle or bicycle is guilty of Evading. Cal. Veh. Code s. 2800.1 Opens in New Window.

  2. What are the necessary elements to be found guilty of Evading?

    To prove the defendant is guilty of fleeing or evading the police, the state must show that:

    1. The officer's motor vehicle exhibited at least one lit red lamp visible from the front;
    2. The officer's motor vehicle sounded a siren as reasonably necessary;
    3. The officer's motor vehicle was distinctively marked (i.e., not an undercover / unmarked car); and
    4. The officer's motor vehicle was being operated by a peace officer.

    Cal. Veh. Code s. 2800.1 (a) Opens in New Window.

    - OR -

    1. The officer gave a verbal command to stop;
    2. The officer gave a hand signal commanding the defendant to stop;
    3. The officer sounded a horn of at least 115 decibels;
    4. The officer's bicycle was distinctively marked (i.e., not an undercover / unmarked car);
    5. The officer's bicycle was being operated by a peace officer; and
    6. The defendant is aware or should have been aware of the verbal command, hand signal, and horn but refused to comply with the order to stop.

    Cal. Veh. Code s. 2800.1 (b) Opens in New Window.

  3. What is the sentence / punishment for Evading a police officer?

    In the case of both Cal. Veh. Code s. 2800.1 (a) and (b) Opens in New Window, evading is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

  4. What are possible defenses to charges of Evading a police officer?

    To prove someone committed a crime, the state (through its prosecutors) must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed each element of the crime. Therefore, defenses to any crime start with negating one or more of the elements of the crime. Additionally, some crimes allow for “affirmative” defenses which, if the defendant can prove the defense applies, will result in a verdict of “not guilty” even if the prosecutor proves the defendant met each of the elements of the crime.

    If the prosecutor can prove all the elements of Evading, however, the defendant must prove that one or more justifications for his actions existed (i.e., it is the defendant’s burden to prove an affirmative defense). For Evading, some of these justifications include:

    • Mistaken Identity;
    • Alibi;
    • Duress / Threats;
    • Necessity;
    • Accident;
    • Entrapment; and
    • Statute of Limitations.
See also, Resisting Arrest.