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Eluding and Fleeing

You may be navigating your daily life when all of a sudden, you’re bombarded by red and blue lights. Fleeing may seem like the best option, especially if you have a warrant pending or were caught committing a crime. However, attempting to escape the police could lead to further charges.

Eluding and fleeing is a serious offense under Iowa law. Depending on the circumstances, you might be facing felony charge and time in prison. It’s important you have a defense plan to protect your future. If you or someone you know has been charged with eluding or attempting to flee from law enforcement, it’s important you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

Attorney for Eluding and Fleeing in West Des Moines, Iowa

It’s always a struggle when you’re criminally charged. If your charges are tied to fleeing and eluding, your problems may be even worse. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, fleeing and eluding could lead to felony charges. Not only this, but you could not be granted bond because the court might consider you a flight risk.

Make the right decision by calling an attorney from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today. We can utilize our defense strategies to defend you and contest for a bond. Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up a case consultation today. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. defend people throughout the Polk County area including Pleasant Hill, Altoona, Elkhart, Alleman, and West Des Moines.

Overview of Eluding and Fleeing in Iowa  

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Iowa Laws on Eluding and Fleeing from Police

The penalties for eluding and fleeing are reliant on the events of the crime. Iowa Code § 21.279 states you’ll be charged with eluding or fleeing if you refuse to stop after you’re given an audio and visual cue by law enforcement. This cue will be the flashing of their car lights and siren. Refusing to stop after the officer flashed their lights and siren is a serious misdemeanor.

A serious misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine between $315 and $1,875 

Your charges will be enhanced to an aggravated misdemeanor if you refuse to stop and speed 25 mph over the posted limit. An aggravated misdemeanor can result in: 

  • Up to 23 months in jail; and
  • A fine between $625 and $6,250 

The crime will be reclassified to a class D felony if you refuse to stop, speed past the limit and do any of the following:

  • Flee or attempt to flee after participating in a felony offense;
  • You were fleeing because you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI);
  • You were fleeing because you had drugs in your possession, or you were trafficking drugs; or
  • You caused bodily injury to another person when you tried to flee from the police 

A class D felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine between $750 and $7,500

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License Suspension or Revocation from Fleeing Police

Fleeing from law enforcement will also result in administrative penalties. Iowa DOT will automatically revoke your license if you’re convicted of eluding police. To retain your driving privileges, you will have to contest the revocation by requesting a hearing. You can then challenge the revocation with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

If it’s your second eluding or attempt to elude offense, then the court may label you as a habitual offender. Habitual offenders automatically have their license revoked and have a fee imposed by the court. Iowa DOT will schedule a hearing beforehand to assess if you’re a habitual offender. You can choose to hire legal representation to fight for your driving privileges in court. 

It’s important to understand the hearing won’t be about your current charges. The hearing for your license revocation is very different than your criminal trial. The court will instead focus on whether you’re a habitual offender. This means the judge is only deciding if your past convictions were valid.

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Statute of Limitations for Fleeing from Law Enforcement

All federal and state courts have a deadline called a statute of limitations. Prosecutors only have the time allotted in a crime’s statute of limitations to file formal charges. Once the time limit has passed the court will no longer accept charges for that crime. There are some exceptions to this rule such as murder or kidnapping.

Iowa has a set statute of limitations based on the classification of the crime. Since fleeing and eluding has three different classification, the statute of limitations will vary. When fleeing and eluding is charged as a simple misdemeanor, prosecutors only have one year to file charges. All other classifications such as felonies or serious and aggravated misdemeanors have a three-year statute of limitations. 

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Additional Resources

Iowa Laws on Fleeing or Eluding – Visit the official website of the Iowa Code of Motor Vehicles and Laws of the Road to learn more about fleeing and eluding. Access the statute to learn the charge specifics, the visual and audio cues given by law enforcement and the penalties for eluding a police officer.

Criminal Statute of Limitations – Visit the official website of the Iowa Code to learn more about their statute of limitations. Access the laws to learn the different statutes for simple misdemeanors and other offenses. Find more information about which offenses have an extended or no statute of limitations. 

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Lawyer for Statute of Limitations in Polk County, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been charged with fleeing from the police, it’s vital you gain trusted legal representation. A conviction could land you in jail or prison. Additionally, you could have your license suspended or revoked if you’re convicted. Don’t wait another moment to protect yourself. Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today.

The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are skilled in criminal defense. We will defend you of any crime no matter how serious. Let us help you through this legal process. Contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700 today for a free consultation. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout Polk County and Dallas County such as West Des Moines, Dexter, Polk City, Adel and Elkhart.