The Nevada criminal offense of evading police occurs when an individual ignores a law enforcement official who motions him to pull over while he or she is driving. You should reach out to The Law Offices of Martin Hart if you’ve been arrested for evading police in the Las Vegas area. We will be happy to offer you professional legal help.
The Legal Definition of the Criminal Offense of Evading Police in Nevada
According to NRS 484B.550, you will be charged with the offense of evading police if you willfully refuse or fail to stop driving when a law enforcement officer signals you to pull over by a siren and a flashing red lamp. You wouldn't be guilty of evading an officer if he or she didn't signal you to stop by either a red light or a siren.
As a law-abiding citizen, when a police officer flags you down; you should pull over immediately to the side of the road. You will still be arrested for the offense of evading police if you fail to stop as soon as it is safe for you to do so.
For instance, Peter's car has a broken headlamp. A law enforcement officer from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department flags him down using a siren and a flashing red lamp. Since Peter is listening to his favorite hip-hop song, he waits for it to end before he halts. In such a case, Peter can still be arrested for evading police because he delayed stopping; even though he didn't intend to escape the police.
Sometimes, you may be tempted to evade police through speeding or to change the driving course, especially if you believe that you are on the wrong. This action could result in a police chase with the Nevada Highway Patrol. If this happens, you will be liable for serious damages.
Defenses to Evading Police Charges in Nevada
There are various defenses to the criminal charge of evading police in Nevada. Your attorney can utilize them for plea bargaining so that you can be charged with a less severe offense. Also, with the help of an excellent defense strategy; you can be acquitted, and your case may be dismissed. Your attorney will use these defenses depending on the facts of your case. Here are some defenses to evading police charges in Nevada:
The Nevada police must utilize a siren and a flashing red light to flag you down. If there were an absence of any of these two items, you would be acquitted. Your attorney can argue that the law enforcement officers used a wrong sign or that one of their signals was faulty.
You will only be convicted of evading police in Nevada if the prosecution proves that you had a willful intent to ignore the signal of the police officer while he or she motioned you to stop. Maybe you genuinely didn't notice that you were being flagged down by the police. Alternatively, your ears were defective, and you couldn't hear the sound of the wailing siren.
Note that the prosecution is obliged to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you evaded the police for you to be convicted. If the prosecutor doesn’t have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that you acted willfully, your charges will be dropped.
It was Dangerous to Pull Over
Of course, you shouldn't risk your life and pull over just because a law enforcement officer has signaled you to stop. Prosecutors in Nevada can quickly drop police evasion charges if you assert that the primary reason why you didn't stop is that it was unsafe. Your attorney can help you bring in evidence like eyewitnesses and video recordings to demonstrate that it was dangerous for you to pull over and that your actions were reasonable.
You won't get convicted if the prosecution doesn't have enough evidence to show that you evaded the police. There are specific facts which the prosecutor must prove for the court to hold you criminally liable.
The prosecutor must demonstrate that the police officer utilized the proper signals in flagging you down and that he or she had a reasonable cause. Moreover, he or she must assert before the court that you had an unlawful intent to evade the police, perhaps because you feared being caught red-handed while breaking the law.
Sometimes, the prosecution may lack all the evidence which is required to ascertain these facts. In such situations, your attorney can raise the defense of insufficient evidence, and you will be acquitted.
If you had an emergency, you didn't want to waste any minute dealing with the Nevada police. Perhaps you were trying to rush your pregnant wife to the hospital, or you had an important job interview lined up.
If your attorney tells the court that you had a specific emergency to attend to at the time when the police officer motioned you to pull over, you may be acquitted. This is because you will have weakened the prosecution’s case by successfully asserting that you didn’t intend to evade the police.
For example, Peter, while at his office working, receives a phone call from his wife’s close friend, Mary. Mary informs Peter that his wife is undergoing labor pains and that she must be rushed to the hospital quickly. Peter rushes to his boss and informs him of his wife’s condition, and he is permitted to leave. Peter starts driving towards his home. A Nevada police officer notices him speeding, and he flags him down. Peter’s mind is preoccupied with his wife’s condition, and he doesn’t notice that he is being told to pull over. Peter is later arrested for evading police. In such a scenario, Peter can tell the court that he had an emergency and that he had no willful intent to evade the police. Since he had no willful intent, his case will be dismissed.
The Penalties for Evading Police in Nevada
The offense of evading police in Nevada is a wobbler, and it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor; per the circumstances of your case. Furthermore, there is no fixed punishment for police officer evasion in Nevada. These penalties vary depending on the following factors:
- If the driver acted dangerously and recklessly
- If the person who was driving was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- If you damaged any property while evading the officer
- If any person died or sustained grievous bodily injuries while you were trying to escape the police
You will only be charged with misdemeanor evading police in Nevada if you didn’t hurt any person, didn’t damage any property, and you weren’t driving dangerously or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The penalties for misdemeanor evading police is a jail term of six months or a fine which should not exceed one thousand dollars.
You will be charged with felony evading police if you've been drunk driving while evading the Nevada police. The punishment for evasion with DUI is a prison term of up to four years or a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars. If you are in this situation, you may be charged with two offenses at the same time; DUI and evading police.
A person who drives dangerously or damages property while evading the police may face a prison term of 1 – 6 years, or he may be required to pay a fine which may be up to five thousand dollars. Evading causing serious injury or death has the most grievous penalties. The punishment for this offense is a prison term that may range from two to twenty years or a fine which may be up to fifty thousand dollars.
What are the Immigration Consequences of the Offense of Evading Police in Nevada?
In Nevada, evading police is usually considered a crime involving moral turpitude. Therefore, you can be deported if you are convicted of police officer evasion.
Consequently, aliens who have been charged with evading police should hire criminal defense attorneys who are also well versed in immigration law. These attorneys can assist them to be acquitted or can help in plea bargaining to reduce their charges to non-deportable offenses.
Sealing Criminal Records for Evading Police in Nevada
There is a specific waiting period for sealing criminal records for police evasion in Nevada. This waiting period varies depending on whether you had been convicted of felony evading police or misdemeanor evading police. You will have to wait for 12 months after the lapse of the case before you can expunge your misdemeanor evading police conviction. On the other hand, the waiting time for felony evading police conviction is five years after the trial ends.
Generally, individuals who have ever been convicted of felony DUI in Nevada are restricted from sealing their other crimes in their records. Therefore, if you have been convicted of both the crime of evading police and felony DUI, you won’t succeed to seal any of them.
If your evasion case has been dismissed, you can make an application for a record seal immediately. However, this sealing process is quite hectic and tedious; and it may take a couple of weeks.
Even if you have misdemeanor evading police conviction on your record, you should seal it as soon as possible. This way, you will pass background checks, and you will access the opportunities which you desire like employment or scholarships.
Related Offenses to Evading Police
There are several offenses that are related to evading police. Some of them are as follows:
You will be charged with the criminal offense of resisting arrest if you try to prevent a law enforcement officer from carrying out an arrest or performing his public duties. Resisting arrest is a wobbler in Nevada, and it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
The offense of felony resisting arrest occurs if you prevent the police from arresting someone else or fulfilling his duties with the help of a weapon. If you are convicted of felony resisting arrest, you may face a prison sentence of up to one year.
On the other hand, you will be convicted of misdemeanor resisting arrest if you didn’t utilize a weapon while resisting the law enforcement officials. Its punishments include a jail term of six years and a fine which should not exceed one thousand dollars.
Obstructing Public Officers
If you withhold information or lie to a public officer, you will be charged with the Nevada crime of obstructing public officers. This crime is a misdemeanor, and its penalties are a six-month jail term limit or a fine of up to one thousand dollars.
Battery on a Peace Officer
The Nevada crime of battery on a peace officer happens when an individual uses unlawful physical force against a law enforcement officer. For instance, a person may throw harmful objects to the police, hit, or spit on them.
Battery on a peace officer can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, per the discretion of the prosecutor. Police battery which doesn’t result in strangulation or severe physical body injuries, is usually charged as a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. The penalties for gross misdemeanor police battery are a jail term that should not exceed 364 days and a fine which may be up to two thousand dollars.
Otherwise, police battery in Nevada is a group B felony. Its potential punishments include a jail term of up to ten years or a fine which should not exceed ten thousand dollars. However, if you utilized a deadly weapon to harm a law enforcement officer; your prison sentence may be increased to fifteen years.
Escaping from Prison
When you flee from or break out of police custody, jail, or prison in Nevada; you will be charged with the criminal offense of escaping from prison. This is as illustrated by Nevada's criminal laws NRS 212.090. This offense has no fixed penalties. Its punishments vary depending on the crime you had been initially incarcerated.
Find a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Regardless of the charge that you are facing within the Las Vegas area, you can always count on The Law Offices of Martin Hart. We have dedicated and experienced attorneys who will be willing to help you in your criminal charge of evading police. With our help, your case may be dismissed, or your charge may be reduced to a lesser offense that doesn't have severe penalties. Call us today at 702-380-4278 to jumpstart your case.