Alabama has toughened its law concerning fleeing from police

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

If a police officer tries to pull you over, refusing to stop and making them chase you is never a good idea. Unfortunately, too many people do that. Oftentimes, it’s because they know they’ve done something that will get them arrested or at least believe police want to cite them for more than speeding or running a stop sign. Some people simply panic at the thought of a police encounter after seeing high-profile examples of violent and even fatal encounters.

Fleeing from police in a vehicle, however, can lead to serious and even fatal crashes. Anyone on or near the road in question can be in danger. Alabama led the nation in police pursuit-related fatalities between 1996 and 2015. That’s why refusing to stop for police in itself is a criminal offense. Last year, Alabama made it an even more serious one under some circumstances.

When is attempting to evade police a felony?

Under the new law, attempting to evade police is now a felony if a driver does any of the following:

  • Goes 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit
  • Crosses state lines
  • Causes injury or death

Previously, only the last of these was a felony. If none of these conditions applies, it’s a misdemeanor. That’s on top of any other charges a person may already be facing.

Police were among those advocating for tougher sanctions for fleeing from police. That’s not surprising, since these chases can be extremely dangerous for them as well.

What’s most important to remember is that few people successfully evade police. Even if police stop a chase because it’s too dangerous to public safety, they can generally find out who a fleeing driver is and will likely locate them eventually. It’s better to cooperate and firmly but respectfully assert your rights – including your right to legal representation.