Evading a Police Officer

2800.1. (a) The crime of evading a police officer is defined in California Vehicle Code section 2800.1. The crime of evading is generally a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail. The crime of evading requires that the prosecution prove the many specific facts before one can be convicted of the crime of evading.

“Any person who, while operating a motor vehicle and with the intent to evade, willfully flees or otherwise attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year if all of the following conditions exist: (1) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is exhibiting at least one lighted red lamp visible from the front and the person either sees or reasonably should have seen the lamp. (2) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is sounding a siren as may be reasonably necessary. (3) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is distinctively marked. (4) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is operated by a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, and that peace officer is wearing a distinctive uniform. (b) Any person who, while operating a motor vehicle and with the intent to evade, willfully flees or otherwise attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer’s bicycle, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year if the following conditions exist: (1) The peace officer’s bicycle is distinctively marked. (2) The peace officer’s bicycle is operated by a peace officer, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), and that peace officer is wearing a distinctive uniform. (3) The peace officer gives a verbal command to stop. (4) The peace officer sounds a horn that produces a sound of at least 115 decibels. (5) The peace officer gives a hand signal commanding the person to stop. (6) The person is aware or reasonably should have been aware of the verbal command, horn, and hand signal, but refuses to comply with the command to stop.”
2800.2. (a)

A more serious crime of evading is defined in Vehicle Code section 2800.2. If the evading involves a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property then the driver of the vehicle can be convicted of a felony and face a potential state prison sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.

“If a person flees or attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer in violation of Section 2800.1 and the pursued vehicle is driven in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, the person driving the vehicle, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or by confinement in the county jail for not less than six months nor more than one year. The court may also impose a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or may impose both that imprisonment or confinement and fine. (b) For purposes of this section, a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property includes, but is not limited to, driving while fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing peace officer during which time either three or more violations that are assigned a traffic violation point count under Section 12810 occur, or damage to property occurs.”
2800.3. (a)

An even more serious type of evading is an evading that results in serious bodily injury. The consequences for a violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.3 can be up to ten years in state prison.

Whenever willful flight or attempt to elude a pursuing peace officer in violation of Section 2800.1 proximately causes serious bodily injury to any person, the person driving the pursued vehicle, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years, by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (b) Whenever willful flight or attempt to elude a pursuing peace officer in violation of Section 2800.1 proximately causes death to a person, the person driving the pursued vehicle, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 4, 6, or 10 years. (c) Nothing in this section shall preclude the imposition of a greater sentence pursuant to Section 190 of the Penal Code or any other provisions of law applicable to punishment for an unlawful death. (d) For the purposes of this section, “serious bodily injury” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (f) of Section 243 of the Penal Code.