Law enforcement reality television shows have some of the highest ratings of all the choices available. Some of the most popular, though, are the shows that portray suspects fleeing in vehicles to elude the police. This may seem like good entertainment, but the ‘reality’ is that these individuals are committing a very serious crime. California has a relatively large problem with people running from the police, so the state treats this crime rather harshly – a good reason to know what the charge really entails and why understanding the bail process can be crucial.
What is Considered Fleeing?
Fleeing is very basic in nature, but there are a few factors related to the charge that some individuals may not know about. Most people understand that trying to elude a police officer who has his red lights on is a crime, but there are many things that are also considered prior to a conviction.
Before a person can be convicted, for instance, it must be proven that the police car was distinctively marked and the siren was on. In addition, it should also be noted that a person can face evading a police officer charge even if that officer is on a bike. The officer’s bicycle must also be distinctively marked, but this isn’t usually a difficult thing for the prosecution to prove.
Bail Amounts for Fleeing
Although attempting to evade the police is a serious crime, California counties do have preset bail schedules so that those charged with the crime can get out on bond. These amounts may vary, however, since each individual county is allowed to set their own terms for release. Shasta County, for instance, has one of the most lenient amounts at $1,000. If the suspect was showing willful and wanton disregard for others’ safety, however, this jumps to $2,500.
With the huge fleeing problem that Los Angeles County has, it’s no surprise that they have set their bail amount at $25,000. Once again, this amount increases substantially if the suspect displayed willful and wanton disregard for safety. Sacramento, on the other hand, doesn’t even differentiate between these two in their bail schedule. A single arrest, for instance, can lead to a $50,000 bail amount.
Consequences of a Conviction
The consequences of a conviction after evading a police officer are many and varied. The lightest sentence a person will receive is up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. In addition, the individual’s license may be revoked and their car impounded for a month. If the person showed willful and wanton disregard, the aforementioned fine can jump up to $10,000. In instances where a person sustains serious injuries or death due to the suspect’s acts, however, the defendant could face a 10 year prison sentence.
There are definitely many criminal charges on the books that people could legitimately claim to be unaware of, but evading a peace officer certainly isn’t one of them. Common sense is usually all that it takes to tell a person that they need to stop for police in pursuit. It should be noted, though, that even an arrest of this magnitude doesn’t constitute an automatic conviction. Because of this factor, it’s imperative for a person to be knowledgeable about the law and have sound legal help when facing these charges.