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Charged with attempting to elude a police officer. what are the RCW facts that police vehicles must have to make legal stops?

Olympia, WA |

My passenger and I had reason to believe that it was not an officer wanting us to pull over. Its was dusk, a midsize dark SUV can from state forestry land at a high rate of speed. i noticed the vehicle charging us from 1 to 1.5 miles behind, coming up fast with no lights on and as we were heading into lots of corners with no were to pull over safely (I have never been in area, no knowledge of surroundings) The SUV turned on some kind of flashing lights. What classifies a police vehicle to be legal? I have a clear record, never arrested in my, felony would ruin my career, what can i do?

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Attorney answers 1


It sounds like a very unfortunate situation. It is important to remember that the charge is only an allegation. It is the State’s burden to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will need to be equipped to explore all factual, legal and equitable defenses on your behalf.

In analyzing the strengths/weaknesses of the State's case, the jury instructions are a good place to start. Attempt to Elude is defined as:

A person commits the crime of attempting to elude a police vehicle when he willfully fails or refuses to bring his vehicle to a stop after being given a visual or audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop by a police officer, and while attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle he drives his vehicle in a reckless manner.

A signal to stop given by a police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The police officer giving such a signal must be in uniform and the officer's vehicle must be equipped with lights and siren.

The court will also provide the jury with the following instruction:

It is a defense to a charge of attempting to elude a police vehicle that a reasonable person would not have believed that the signal to stop was given by a police officer and that the defendant's driving after the signal to stop was reasonable under the circumstances.

The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that you must be persuaded, considering all the evidence in the case, that it is more probably true than not true. If you find that the defendant has established this defense, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.

The outcome will depend on facts and the ability of your attorney to vigorously represent your interests. If convicted as charged, the standard range is zero to 60 days in jail for someone with no criminal history.

I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Good luck.

Tim Leary

206-382-2401 office
206-972-2401 cell

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