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Fleeing or Eluding the Police in Maryland

Fleeing or Eluding police is a serious and non-payable traffic charge, which means that you must appear in the Maryland District Court to address the allegations making up the charge.

Maryland law is tough on drivers who attempt to avoid police officers while they are trying to conduct a traffic stop. A defendant charged with fleeing or eluding the police faces a potential misdemeanor conviction that carries the potential for up to one year in jail and/or up-to a $1,000 fine for a first offense. They also face an administrative penalty from the MVA of 12 points on their license, which could lead to their license being revoked.

In order for the State to successfully prosecute this charge against you, meaning they convict you, the prosecutor must prove each and every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The statute, contained in Maryland Transportation Article Section 21-904, prohibits drivers from willfully attempting to elude a police officer by failing to stop their vehicle for a police officer conducting a stop, either by fleeing or driving off in their vehicle, running away on foot or by fleeing in any other means.

The keyword there is “willfully,” as it requires the State to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to flee or escape the police officer attempting to conduct the stop. There are a number of circumstances where a driver’s failure to immediately stop or pullover that have absolutely nothing to do with attempting to flee from a police officer conducting a traffic stop.

For example, the driver may be on a street, highway or interstate where there is no safe area for them to stop or pull over away from traffic, which causes them to continue driving towards an exit or safe, well-lit spot with every intention of stopping once they get there. A driver also may simply be unaware of the law enforcement officer attempting to stop their vehicle and continue driving under the belief that the officer was after another vehicle. Either scenario, among others, may be interpreted by the officer as an attempt to flee or elude. A skilled Maryland traffic attorney can make sure that any misunderstanding regarding your intent does not result in an unwarranted serious conviction.

The statute will not be applicable unless the police officer conducting the stop is either in a uniform that clearly displays his badge or in an appropriately marked police vehicle. The State must also prove that the officer gave a visible or audible signal, either by hand, voice, or emergency lights instructing the defendant to stop his vehicle.

If you have been charged in Maryland with Fleeing or Eluding Police, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Maryland traffic attorney who can fight to protect your record and your license. The aggressive attorneys at Krum, Gergely & Oates, LLC can help.