When you hear the term ‘Fleeing and Eluding” you typically think of people running from the police. In the movies, it’s usually a good guy who got caught up in a bad situation. He knows that the cops won’t believe him even though he’s telling the truth, so he runs. Sometimes it’s a bad guy who uses evasive maneuvers to get away from officers in pursuit after he’s murdered someone and was almost caught.
Either way, neither of these scenarios has anything to do with Fleeing and Eluding in Michigan. Running away from the police and hoping they don’t catch you might be charged as Resisting and Obstructing. So what does Fleeing and Eluding mean in Michigan? Well, let’s break it down…
Fleeing and eluding is where a driver of a motor vehicle willfully fails to stop for a police or conservation officer. The officer could be signaling an individual to stop by emergency light, voice command, siren, by hand, or using some other audible or visual signal. In other words, if you are on foot and running from the police in Michigan, you are NOT fleeing and eluding. This charge only applies to people who are in a vehicle, and failing to stop when an officer tells them to.
In Michigan, Fleeing and Eluding charges are divided into four categories, called degrees. Each degree refers to a specific situation in which this crime is committed, and is punishable by very specific jail or prison sentences and fines. Here are the four categories, and their punishments, in Michigan:
Fourth Degree Fleeing and Eluding:
If a driver flees by increasing the speed of their vehicle, or by turning off their headlights in an attempt to hide from police, it is Fourth Degree Fleeing and Eluding. This is a felony under Michigan law, with a maximum punishment of up to 2 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000.00, or both.
Third Degree Fleeing and Eluding:
Third degree fleeing and eluding is when one or more of the following occurs:
1) when in the course of fleeing a collision or accident occurs,
2) if a portion of the fleeing happened in an area where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
3) The person has a prior Fourth Degree Fleeing and Eluding conviction.
Under state law this is a felony with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000.00, or both.
Second Degree Fleeing and Eluding:
This charge is used when one or more of the following happens:
1) The violation causes an individual serious bodily injury
2) The fleeing person has one or more prior convictions of First, Second, or Third Degree Fleeing and Eluding
3) The fleeing individual had two or more prior convictions for Fourth Degree Fleeing and Eluding. Second Degree Fleeing and Eluding is a felony with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000.00, or both.
First Degree Fleeing and Eluding:
First degree fleeing and eluding is where someone’s death is caused as a result of the Fleeing and Eluding. Ere in Michigan this is a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000.00, or both.
There are two other important facts to remember with regard to Fleeing and Eluding charges here in Michigan:
- Because Fleeing and Eluding is a driving related crime, all convictions affect your driving privileges. Anyone convicted of Third and Fourth degree Fleeing and Eluding will have their driver’s license suspended, while those convicted of First and Second Degree Fleeing and Eluding will have their license revoked.
- As of November 2012, this law was amended to include individuals fleeing and eluding on vessels such as speedboats. The penalties for not stopping your boat when ordered to do so by an officer of the law are virtually the same.
Fleeing and Eluding charges are very serious in Michigan, and anyone convicted of this crime may be looking as substantial prison time, in addition to cripplingly high fines. The skilled attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have many years of experience defending Fleeing and Eluding charges in Michigan. So if you or a loved one need aggressive defense against fleeing and eluding charges in the Lower Peninsula, call us immediately at 766 866 5245. We are available 24/7 to assist you.