Fleeing and Eluding
When alleged offenders are charged with failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer in addition to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio, the alleged eluding or fleeing of law enforcement can potentially result in even more serious penalties than just the driving under the influence (DUI) offense.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2921.331, it is a first-degree misdemeanor if an alleged offender fails to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer invested with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic or operates a motor vehicle so as willfully to elude or flee a police officer after receiving a visible or audible signal from a police officer to bring the person’s motor vehicle to a stop.
Failure to comply becomes a fourth-degree felony if, in committing the offense, the alleged offender was fleeing immediately after the commission of a felony. The crime becomes a third-degree felony if:
- The operation of the motor vehicle by the alleged offender was a proximate cause of serious physical harm to persons or property; or
- The operation of the motor vehicle by the alleged offender caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property.
Prosecutors will attempt to use alleged fleeing and eluding as evidence that alleged offenders panicked because they knew they were intoxicated. Oftentimes, there can be much more understandable explanations for a motorist’s failure to immediate stop. In some cases, the person will flee because of a suspended license or an outstanding warrant.
In some cases, drivers may have had justifiable personal safety concerns that prevented them from stopping as soon as possible. Occasionally, failure to stop can be based on reasonable doubts about authenticity because the vehicle was not marked or the officer was not in traditional uniform. Weather can also be to blame and sometimes people just simply did not see or hear any signals to stop.
Were you charged with failure to comply when you were arrested for OVI in Ohio? Don’t hesitate, contact Skip Potter now. He is here to assist you with your legal needs.