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Colorado Eluding: Misdemeanor or Felony? C.R.S. 42-4-1413 vs C.R.S. 18-9-116.5 - A Traffic Lawyer's View

Eluding.jpgEluding or Attempting to Elude Police in Arapahoe County: the Misdemeanor, C.R.S. 42-4-1413

Eluding or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer in Arapahoe County is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. It occurs when a person flees from a police officer - knowing the officer was trying to stop them. Emergency lights or a siren are usually required. From our study, the main requirement for Felony Vehicular Eluding vs the misdemeanor Eluding, is the requirement that a person operate their vehicle in a reckless manner during the eluding. The misdemeanor Eluding does not have this requirement.

Douglas County Eluding as a Felony, C.R.S. 18-9-116.5

Vehicular Eluding as a felony is a more serious crime in Douglas County. In Aurora, Lakewood and Centennial, C.R.S. 18-9-116.5 defines vehicular eluding as occurring when "any person, while operating a motor vehicle, knowingly eludes or attempts to elude a peace officer also operating a motor vehicle, and who knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being pursued by a peace officer, who operates his or her vehicle in a reckless manner." This law does not differentiate the reason for running or failing to stop for an officer, trooper or deputy.

Penalties and Fines for Eluding or Running from Police Across Colorado

Lawmakers see vehicular eluding as a threat to public safety. If driving recklessly in the process of Eluding, this crime is classified as a felony, and the fines imposed for each of the classes is doubled. Most every class 5 felony carries a minimum fine of $1,000. However, when someone is found guilty of a Class 5 felony for vehicular eluding, the minimum fine is $2,000. Similarly, a Class 4 and Class 3 vehicular eluding carry $4,000 and $6,000 fine minimums, respectively. The other important punishment in these felony cases is the possibility of prison time. The misdemeanor version of this crime does not have this risk - just county jail.

Defenses to Eluding Charges in Colorado

There are legitimate defenses to Eluding charges in Denver. Maybe you did not know the officer wanted you to pull over. Maybe you had an emergency when stopped. Some officers overcharge men and women who were not running from them at all. Most often, we see that our clients can assert the defense of lacking knowledge that an officer wanted them to stop. Perhaps a person was distracted on the phone and did not realize an officer behind them was signaling for them to stop. District Attorneys are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you "knowingly" attempted to elude a police officer. Witnesses in your car can really help in proving your mindset.

Injury During an Eluding in Jefferson County Raises the Stakes High

The charging of a person with a Class 5 felony vs. the more serious Class 4 or Class 3 felonies, depends on whether someone is injured during the crime. With bodily injury during the Eluding, the accused will be charged with a Class 4 felony. If someone dies during an episode of Eluding, the driver will get a Class 3 felony charge. Also, if injury occurs, you can also be given a Felony Complaint for Vehicular Assault, 18-3-205, or if someone dies, vehicular homicide, C.R.S. 18-3-106. Of course, another penalty is the possible loss of your driver's license. Read about more charges common with Eluding.

Hopefully, your charges do not involve any allegation of driving in a reckless manner. When this is the case, you can be given a summons / ticket for Eluding a Police Officer, a misdemeanor traffic offense under 42-4-1413. Of course, this is much better than a normal felony Eluding, with reduced possible penalties. With only a little difference in the type of driving alleged, the accused can go from a felony (lifetime implications) to a minor traffic offense.

If you have been charged with Vehicular Eluding or just Eluding in Adams County or elsewhere in Colorado, seek the advice of a top criminal defense lawyer at our office. In many cases, there are valid defenses to your charges. If you have been arrested or charged with vehicular eluding, do not speak to officers at all. Instead, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

Image Credit: Pixabay - diegoparra

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