In addition to Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (625 ILCS 5/11-501) or Reckless Driving (625 ILCS 5/11-503), there are other traffic offenses in Illinois that are serious, such as Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a peace officer (625 ILCS 5/11-204.1).
The Illinois Vehicle Code defines aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace office as when any driver of a vehicle flees or attempts to elude an officer after that officer has given a signal (visual or audible) for the operator to pull the vehicle over. Actions that bring this charge about include if a driver:
- is at a rate of speed at least 21 miles per hour over the legal speed limit;
- causes bodily injury to any individual;
- causes damage in excess of $300 to property;
- disobeys of 2 or more official traffic control devices; or
- conceals or alters of the vehicle’s registration plate
Consulting an experienced defense attorney is essential if you face an Aggravated Fleeing or Eluding charge. They are able to formulate a strategic defense to increase the likelihood of you defeating the charge. Defense strategies may include questioning the actions listed above to see if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were violated.
For instance, did the officer have a radar device on your vehicle to determine if you were in fact speeding in excess of 21 miles per hour, or were they relying on a less accurate metric to determine your speed? Or asking if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that property damage caused during the event was in excess of $300. Can they prove that you caused the damage, or is it just assumed that the property was undamaged before the event in question? Can the prosecutor prove that the defendant actually concealed or altered the vehicle’s registration plate?
These questions could mean the difference between a charge of Fleeing and Aggravated Fleeing. First-time offenders convicted of Fleeing (not aggravated) are given misdemeanors and their licenses are suspended for six months. This sentence is much less than first-time offenders convicted of Aggravated Fleeing who have their licenses revoked and are charged with a Class 4 felony with the possibility of one to three years in prison.
An effective defense attorney can help formulate a strategy to counter the prosecutor’s argument. If you face an Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding charge in the state of Illinois, contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.