Fleeing & Eluding Charges


Fleeing and eluding is the failure of a driver to stop or remain stopped when ordered to do so by a duly authorized law enforcement officer in the State of Florida. Florida law dictates severe penalties for individuals who are charged and convicted with fleeing and eluding, which may include prison time and a mandatory license revocation for an individual. If you’ve been charged with this serious criminal offense, contact The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, FL.

How Is Fleeing & Eluding Defined?

According to Florida Statute § 316.1935, “It is unlawful for the operator of any vehicle, having knowledge that he or she has been ordered to stop such vehicle by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully to refuse or fail to stop the vehicle in compliance with such order or, having stopped in knowing compliance with such order, willfully to flee in an attempt to elude the officer, and a person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”

The following details the three elements with which the general offense of fleeing and eluding is comprised. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case with a Gainesville attorney.

  1. The individual operated a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida
  2. A duly authorized officer of law enforcement ordered the individual to stop or remain stopped
  3. With the knowledge that he or she was ordered to stop or remain stopped by the officer, the individual either willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle and comply with the order by continuing or the individual stopped the vehicle, but thereafter willfully fled in an attempt to elude the law enforcement official.

Which Factors Determine Fleeing & Eluding Charges?

In addition to the general offense of fleeing and eluding, there are a number of aggravated offense subtypes to this charge within Florida law.

Subtype 1: Fleeing & Eluding

The primary fleeing and eluding subtype occurs when a police officer activates his or her vehicle lights and sirens. This offense is comprised of the following three elements.

  • The individual operated a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida
  • With the knowledge that he or she was ordered to stop or remain stopped by the officer, the individual either willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle and comply with the order by continuing or the individual stopped the vehicle, but thereafter willfully fled in an attempt to elude the law enforcement official.
  • The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement vehicle with the appropriate agency insignia and with activated sirens and lights.

Subtype 2: Fleeing & Eluding

The secondary subtype of a fleeing and eluding offense occurs when an individual drives his or her vehicle at a high speed or drives recklessly, such as to avoid a DUI charge, following the activation lights and sirens of a law enforcement vehicle. This offense is comprised of the following four elements.

  • The individual operated a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida
  • With the knowledge that he or she was ordered to stop or remain stopped by the officer, the individual either willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle and comply with the order by continuing or the individual stopped the vehicle, but thereafter willfully fled in an attempt to elude the law enforcement official.
  • The law enforcement officer was in an authorized law enforcement vehicle with the appropriate agency insignia and with activated sirens and lights.
  • While attempting to elude or fleeing the scene, the individual drove at a high speed or engaged in reckless driving, which demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the safety of other people and/or property in his or her vicinity.

Subtype 3: Fleeing & Eluding

The final subtype of fleeing and eluding occurs when an individual drives recklessly and/or at a high speed and, as a result, causes serious bodily injury or death to another individual or to the pursuing law enforcement officer. This offense is comprised of the following four elements.

  • The individual operated a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida and with the knowledge that he or she was ordered to stop or remain stopped by the officer, the individual either willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle or the individual stopped the vehicle, but thereafter willfully fled in an attempt to elude the law enforcement official.
  • The officer was in an authorized law enforcement vehicle with the appropriate agency insignia and with activated sirens and lights.
  • While attempting to elude or fleeing the scene, the individual drove at a high speed or engaged in reckless driving, with a wanton disregard to safety.
  • As a result of fleeing or eluding the scene, the individual causes serious bodily injury to or the death of another person or to the pursuing officer.

What Are The Penalties For Fleeing & Eluding?

Fleeing and Eluding is a felony offense and requires a statutorily-mandated adjudication of guilt. What that means is that even on a first offense an individual with no prior record will be adjudicated guilty and become a convicted felon. Other penalties depend upon the circumstances of the crime.

This is one of the lowest level offenses that requires an adjudication of guilt on a felony charge, which means that if you don’t stop your car fast enough for the police, you may lose your civil rights, including the right to vote or own a firearm, in addition to paying thousands of dollars in fines and serving a potential multiple-year prison sentence.

General & Subtype 1 Fleeing & Eluding Penalties

With no aggravating circumstances, both the general penalty and the primary subtype of sirens and lights activated for fleeing and eluding is a third-degree felony according to Florida law. Penalties include up to five years in prison or five years of probation, as well as a $5,000 fine. A conviction of general fleeing and eluding also results in a mandatory license revocation with a duration ranging from one year to five years.

Subtype 2: Sirens & Lights Activated With Reckless Or High-Speed Driving

The second subtype of fleeing and eluding is a second-degree felony according to Florida law with penalties of up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation. A conviction of this offense with sirens and lights activated with reckless or high-speed driving also results in a $10,000 fine and a mandatory license revocation of one year to five years in duration.

Subtype 3: Sirens & Lights Activated With Reckless Or High-Speed Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury Or Death

Individuals who are charged with and convicted of subtype three of fleeing and eluding face a first-degree felony. Penalties associated with this charge include up to 30 years in prison or 30 years of probation, a $10,000 fine, and a mandatory license revocation of one to five years in duration. In addition, Florida courts are required to sentence individuals convicted of this offense to serve a minimum prison sentence of three years.