Fleeing police is now more likely to result in a felony charge

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

High-speed police chases may be exciting to watch on TV. However, they can be potentially very dangerous to everyone involved – and to those who happen to be on the road at the time. Alabama has the unfortunate distinction of having experienced more police pursuit-related fatalities than any other state in the two decades between 1996 and 2015.

Partially due to this distinction, just last year, Alabama changed the law so that there’s more likelihood of being charged with a felony for fleeing the policy rather than a misdemeanor. That charge would be added to whatever charge(s) a person is facing if they are alleged to have committed another crime.

When is fleeing the police a felony?

Drivers can face a felony charge of attempting to evade police if they do one or more of the following while they are being pursued by law enforcement:

  • Exceed the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more
  • Go across state lines
    • Cause injury or death during the chase

Previously, only the last of these could result in a felony evasion charge.

Law enforcement officers were among those advocating for the tougher law. As one officer in Tuscaloosa says, traffic stops are often “something minor that can be taken care of on the side of the road or thirty minutes at the courthouse. Not worth risking your life or the lives of others.”

It’s all too easy to panic and to want to get away from police – particularly when someone knows they have done something wrong. Sometimes, people flee because they or others they know have had bad encounters with law enforcement. However, attempting to evade police will only make things worse. With that said, if you are already facing charges, getting legal guidance will help you protect your rights.