What Are the Consequences for Fleeing a Police Officer in Illinois?

St. Charles hit and run defense lawyer

After being involved in a car accident, a driver may feel anxious and panic. Upon realizing he or she is not hurt and the vehicle is still drivable, the motorist might attempt to flee the scene to avoid trouble. However, fleeing or eluding can bring on its own punishment if the person is eventually stopped by the police. Even if an accident has not occurred, if a driver fails to stop when a police officer is attempting to pull him or her over, the driver can face significant penalties in Illinois.

What is Fleeing and Eluding?

According to Illinois law, a person is fleeing--or eluding--if he or she fails to stop after being given a visual and/or verbal signal from a police officer attempting a traffic stop. In cases of vehicle collisions, a person must stay on the scene until the authorities arrive to investigate the accident. If a driver leaves, he or she will face a Class A misdemeanor charge.

During a traffic stop, the officer will give many types of signals so a driver has no excuse to not pull over when ordered, such as:

  • Red and blue illuminated lights

  • Hand gestures

  • A siren or a car horn

  • A spoken signal

If a person is convicted of fleeing or eluding during a traffic stop, the Secretary of State will suspend the driver’s license for six months for first offenders and one year for second offenders. Any subsequent offenders will see their misdemeanor charge increased to a Class 4 felony punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

Those drivers who are convicted of leaving the scene of a car accident will have their driver’s license suspended if the damage to the other vehicle exceeds $1,000 in repairs.

Aggravated Fleeing Punishments

The punishments for fleeing and eluding increase to aggravated crimes if any of the below apply:

  • The driver is fleeing at a rate of 21 mph over the legal limit.

  • The attempt to flee results in bodily harm to another person.

  • The attempt to flee results in over $300 in property damage.

  • The attempt to flee disobeys at least two different traffic control devices (stop lights).

  • The vehicle has its registration plates hidden.

Any first offender to aggravated fleeing and eluding will face a Class 4 felony charge. On top of the felony punishments, the Secretary of State will also revoke the driver’s license. Second and subsequent offenders will have their licenses revoked and face a Class 3 felony punishable by a prison term of two to five years and/or fines up to $25,000.

Contact a Geneva, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Traffic stops can result in a warning or a ticket for the motorist pulled over. However, if a driver flees the scene, he or she will be charged with much stiffer penalties. If you or someone you know is facing fleeing and eluding charges after a traffic stop or accident, it is imperative you seek legal representation. Hiring a lawyer from the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC will help defend against a negative outcome, such loss of driving privileges and/or fines. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled Kane County hit and run lawyer, call our office today at 630-232-1780.