Los Angeles Evading Arrest Defense Attorney
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO DEFEND YOURSELF FOR AN EVADING CASE IN ONE OF THE LOS ANGELES COURTS?
This is an important question when it comes to an evading police case because law enforcement, prosecutors and judges take these cases very seriously and there is a lot of political pressure on them to act swiftly and harshly. In order to turn the tide in the favor of the defendant, it is going to take strategy, experience and hard work! Also, it helps if there are some mitigating factors related to the facts of the case at hand. Your best first move is to sit down with a seasoned criminal defense attorney who has handled cases like yours in the courthouse that you must appear.
The prosecutors and judges are looking at what exactly the defendant did during the pursuit, how many miles were covered, how dangerous the driving was and they are going to look at why the person did what they did and what type of a criminal background they have. With this many factors swimming around you must have a strategy going into your case, before you ever go to court. I encourage my clients to sit down from the beginning so we can decide on what they are realistically looking at and what we should be trying to achieve under the circumstances of the case. Once we have our target result, then it is my job to figure out how to get it and what we need to assist with the best possible outcome.
As you might guess, not all case are the same. The best attorneys are going to craft a resolution that fits your life circumstances and the facts of your case. I want all of the pieces of the puzzle before I set about mastering it. When I negotiate with the prosecutors and judge regarding evading cases, I am typically asked “why did your client do this?”, “You realize he or she could have killed someone?”, “What are we going to do to your client to make sure they never do this again?”. These are serious questions and the answers to them will determine your fate. We must design a plan that covers the answers to these questions, makes sense and will protect and preserve your livelihood, record and freedom.
CAN A PERSON BE CONVICTED OF EVADING ARREST IN LOS ANGELES IF THEY WERE ONLY A PASSENGER DURING A POLICE CHASE?
If you asked me this question ten years ago, I would say absolutely not. However, I have seen an alarming trend of prosecutors and judges who will stretch the bounds of the law in order to convict and punish people who they believe are hardened dangerous criminals. In gang cases, I have seen all gang members in the car being charged with evading arrest if the police can show they are all gang members, have just committed a crime and are escaping the police together. The argument that is made is that the passengers in the car are either aiding and abetting the evading or encouraging the driver to evade the police. In my opinion this is a twisted argument that does not make sense, but because the people who are charged with these type of cases are usually involved in such serious crimes, the prosecutors in Los Angeles believe they can get away with it.
I would have never thought that prosecutors could get away with this type of a stretch in an evading case, until I saw that juries can become so enraged at gang activity that they ignore logic and will simply find someone guilty of a serious crime like evading, because they believe that particular person is a serious danger to society and deserves to suffer the most severe consequences the judge can dole out. In my experience it is much more likely for a jury to find a passenger guilty in an evading case if there are a number of other more serious crimes being alleged and the person is involved in gang activity.
For example, I recently was involved with a case in the main downtown criminal courthouse with multiple gang members being charged with a murder and as they were fleeing the scene, the police started chasing them, which ultimately ended with a crash and a death. This caused a whole slue of charges to be filed against everyone in the car and the driver of the car was facing a murder charge related to the death that occurred during the accident. Again, I usually only see the prosecutors pursuing charges against passengers in evading cases under circumstance where they know that the surrounding circumstances are in their favor as far as a jury being so incensed over what happened, that they will hold everyone in the car responsible for as many crimes as the prosecutors can think to file.
WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE TO PROVE?
Evading Arrest is governed by the instructions set forth in Vehicle Code Sections 2800.1(a), 2800.3(a) & (b). Depending on the persons conduct, or the consequences of the evasion, the court will instruct the jury to find different acts committed during the evasion. As a baseline however, the vehicle code asks juries to find if:
1) If there was a peace officer pursuing the defendant, who was also driving a vehicle?
2) Whether or not the defendant intended to evade the peace officer?
3) While driving, the defendant willingly fled from, or tried to elude, the pursuing officer?
If a jury can find all of the above, then the basic elements of an evading csse have been met. Another important issue that I see come up in evading cases relates to the defendant being able to argue that they did not know that the police where behind them. This is why the police will try and establish that they turned their lights and sirens on during the chase and that the circumstances were such that any reasonable person would know they were being pursued by the police and that they were intentionally trying to evade them.