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Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer in Florida

Crimes for fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer are found in the Florida Statutes at Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Section 316.1935. Most crimes for fleeing to elude are classified as a third degree felony, but the charges might be more serious if certain aggravating factors are alleged.

The different classifications of fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer include:

  • Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer
    • under § 316.1935(1), Fla. Stat.
    • under § 316.1935(2), Fla. Stat.
    • under § 316.1935(3)(a), Fla. Stat. with siren and lights activated with high speed or reckless driving
    • under § 316.1935(3)(b), Fla. Stat.
  • Aggravated Fleeing or Eluding
    • under § 316.1935(4)(b) and § 316.027, Fla. Stat.
    • under § 316.1935(4)(b) and § 316.061, Fla. Stat.
    • under § 316.1935(4)(a) and § 316.027, Fla. Stat.
    • under § 316.1935(4)(a) and § 316.061, Fla. Stat.

Attorney for Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer in Tampa, Florida

If you were charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in Florida, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our main office has been located at the same location in downtown Tampa, FL, for more than 10 years. We have a second office in New Port Richey.

Related charges include reckless driving under 316.192(1)(b) and disobedience to police or fire department officials under 316.072(3).

Call for a free consultation to discuss the pending criminal charges, ways to avoid the typical penalties imposed for those charges, and the best ways to fight for an outright dismissal.

Call 813-250-0500.


Elements of Fleeing and Eluding in Florida

According to the jury instructions found in Chapter 28.6, the crime of FLEEING TO ELUDE A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER under Section 316.1935(1), Fla. Stat., requires the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • the Defendant was operating a vehicle upon a street or highway in Florida;
  • a duly authorized law enforcement officer ordered the defendant to stop or remain stopped; and
  • either:
    • the Defendant, knowing that he or she had been ordered to stop by a duly authorized law enforcement officer, willfully refused or failed to stop the vehicle in compliance with the order; or
    • having stopped the vehicle, willfully fled in a vehicle in an attempt to elude the officer.

Under § 316.003(83), Fla. Stat., the term “street or highway” is defined to mean “the entire width between boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the public for purposes of vehicular traffic.”

The jury instructions under Chapter 28.6 for FLEEING TO ELUDE A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER in § 316.1935(1), Fla. Stat., were originally adopted in 2000 and last amended on October 2, 2020.


Aggravated Forms of Flee to Elude in Florida

Certain types of aggravating circumstances might lead to more serious charges including:

  • driving recklessly;
  • driving at a high rate of speed;
  • causing a motor vehicle accident;
  • causing serious injury or death or another person.

Most charges for fleeing or eluding are classified as a third-degree felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Driving recklessly or at a high rate of speed elevates the classification of the crime to a second degree felony which is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If the fleeing to elude causes serious bodily injury or death, then the crime is classified as a first degree felony which is punishable by up to thirty years in prison. Likewise, if the driver causes property damage while willfully fleeing from the scene of an accident after an order to stop or while eluding an officer following a traffic crash, the crime might be charged under § 316.1935(4)(a), which is a second-degree felony.

When serious bodily injury or death results from fleeing or eluding, the crime might be charged as a first-degree felony in Florida. Under § 775.082(3)(a)(6)(b)1, a first-degree felony is punishable by a prison term of up to 30 years in prison.


This article was last updated on Friday, April 16, 2021.