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California Vehicle Code 2800.1 Evading a Police Officer

Mar 27, 2019 | Vehicle Code

Under California Vehicle Code 2800.1 evading arrest is defined as attempting or actively running away from a police officer that has made clear his intentions to arrest you.

Defendant May Be Found Guilty of Vehicle Code 2800.1 Evading a Police Officer If

The prosecutor must establish the following elements in order to convict a defendant of Vehicle Code 2800.1 evading a police officer:

  • Police officer in a motor vehicle was pursuing the defendant. It makes no difference whether the police officer was driving a patrol car or riding on a police bike or a motorcycle.
  • Defendant was also driving a vehicle when he intentionally fled, or tried to evade the pursuing police

And all of the following were true:

  • At least one lit red lamp was visible from the front of the police officer’s vehicle
  • Defendant either saw or reasonably should have seen the red light
  • Police officer’s vehicle was sounding the siren
  • Police officer’s vehicle was distinctively marked
  • Police officer was wearing a distinctive uniform

Willfully, with the Intention to Evade

Evading a police officer is known a specific intent crime, meaning that the defendant must have specifically intention to commit the offense and it is a willful act. In case the defendant fled from the police officer for a reason other than willfully and intentionally disobeying the officer’s orders, then you cannot be found guilty of the offense. The defendant doesn’t need to have intent to break the law, gain an advantage or hurt another person.

Requirements for the “Police Officer’s Car” in VC 2800.1 Charges

California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 enumerates some specific requirements that a police officer’s car must have.  The requirements are the following:

  • Vehicle must have at least one lighted red lamp
  • Vehicle must have at least one siren which the officer is sounding as reasonably necessary
  • In addition to the red lamp and siren the vehicle must be distinctively marked as a police vehicle. Particularly it must have at least the name or seal of the police department on the outside of the car, or visible flashing white or blue lights visible to the driver.

Legal Defenses to Evading a Police Officer Under VC 2800.1

Legal defenses to evading a police officer under VC Section 2800.1 are as follows

No willful intent

According to California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 anyone who willfully flees or attempts to evade a peace officer is guilty of a misdemeanor. In case the defendant did not intent to evade police officer he should not be convicted of the crime.

Insufficient evidence

Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 requires the police officer be reasonably identifiable by wearing a standard police uniform. Also his vehicle must have distinctive markings, at least one red lamp visible from the front and a siren. If any of these elements are not met the defense of insufficient evidence can be applicable.

Penalties for Violating California Vehicle Code 2800.1

In California law violation of VC 2800.1 is charged as a misdemeanor and the potential penalties include:

  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days
  • Misdemeanor probation
  • Driver’s license suspension

Glendale Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are a loved one has been charged with violating California Vehicle Code 2800.1 contact our Glendale criminal defense lawyer today at 310-933-5171 for a free consultation.