If someone has been charged with “felony reckless evading” in the State of California, it means that the individual was found to have evaded (avoided) a police officer in a motor vehicle, as well as operated that motor vehicle with no regard for the safety of the police officer or other motorists.

In California, Vehicle Code 2800.2 allows for the charge of “felony reckless evading.” According to the code, someone officially can be charged with “felony reckless evading” when he or she flees in a motor vehicle from police and does so in a reckless manner.

Furthermore, California Vehicle Code 2800.2 defines “felony reckless evading” as an appropriate charge for a person who intends to evade a police officer, who is in a distinctive uniform and in a law enforcement marked vehicle, complete with a red light in the front and siren.1

Penalties for “felony reckless evading”

In California, someone could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for  “felony reckless evading” depending on the circumstances of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history.

If someone is convicted of a “felony reckless evading” misdemeanor charge, he or she could face a minimum of six months, and no more than 12 months, in a county jail and/or be sentenced to pay a fine of $1,000.

If someone is convicted of a “felony reckless evading” felony charge, he or she could face 16 months to three years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, the person’s motor vehicle involved in the alleged “felony reckless evading” incident could be impounded for a month and his or her driver’s license suspended.

Legal defenses for “felony reckless evading:

  • The defendant did not intent to evade the officer

To be convicted of “felony reckless evading” in California, the person must have meant to evade a police officer. To be convicted, the prosecutor will have to prove the officer was in an appropriate uniform and in an appropriately marked motor vehicle. In order for someone to have evaded an officer, he or she must have been pursued by a police officer in a motor vehicle and he or she must have willfully (or on purpose) attempted to flee from the police vehicle.

  • There is insufficient evidence that the defendant drove reckless

It can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove an individual drove reckless. That is good news for a defendant who has been charged with “felony reckless evading.” The prosecutor must prove in court that the defendant drove in a manner that violated traffic laws and put other motorists and the police officer at risk of physical harm.

  • The arrest was based on an illegal stop

A police officer can not pull over a motorist without just cause. If a person knows they have not engaged in criminal activity, he or she may not pull over for a police officer for fear of police brutality. This can be the case if the defendant is worried about racial profiling.

Examples of “felony reckless evading”

Someone in California may be charged with “felony reckless evading,” under Vehicle Code 2800.2, in numerous different situations. Here are two examples. One, say a police officer attempts to pull over a vehicle that was reported stolen. The police officer, in uniform and driving in an appropriately marked vehicle, keeps its lights and sirens on but the driver is not pulling over. The driver, a female, who knows she stole the vehicle, does not pull over but speeds away, running stop signs and red lights. This individual, once caught, could be charged with “felony reckless evading,” as well as grand theft auto. Next, say a man decides to transport himself to a family function despite having a suspended license. When a police officer, also in an appropriate uniform and vehicle, tries to pull him over, he also speeds away and proceeds to drive recklessly, even through a school zone.

Call for help:

Contact my office if you have further questions regarding California Vehicle Code 2800.2 and a “felony reckless evading” charge. I am available to consult privately with someone charged with “felony reckless evading,” letting him or her know their options.

Legal references:

Vehicle Codes 2800.1 and 2800.2
Vehicle Codes 2800.1, 2800.2, 2800.3 and 14602.7