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What happens if you drive away from a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When someone’s stopped for a traffic violation and they’ve been drinking, panic can easily set in. The first instinct some people have is to flee – driving off as soon as the officer is far enough away from their vehicle that escape seems possible.

Don’t give into this temptation. No matter how intoxicated you may be, refusing to surrender to the police can make your situation much, much worse.

Trying to flee a traffic stop will hurt you

No matter what you may be thinking at the moment, the reality is that you won’t get very far before the police find you. The average American is caught on camera more than 75 times per day, and you can bet that the officer’s dash cam and body cam will contain enough information to track your car and find you.

Once you’re caught, you can face significant additional charges. Depending on the situation, you could be charged with:

  • Refusal to submit to a police officer: This is a fairly low-level crime, but it does involve a fine of $100 upon conviction, but don’t assume this will be the only charge. Odds are high that it’ll just be tacked onto whatever other charges the prosecution feels are appropriate.
  • Reckless driving: Trying to evade the police doesn’t exactly make for safe driving. If you’re speeding, cutting off other drivers, running lights or taking other evasive maneuvers, you can be charged with reckless driving for putting other lives in danger. A conviction for this means jail time.
  • Resisting arrest: You can also be charged with resisting arrest for trying to evade the authorities. That also leads to fines and jail time if you’re convicted.

Even worse, if you end up in a wreck while trying to flee, you could kill someone. If that happens, you could even be looking at charges of manslaughter by a motor vehicle.

In other words, there’s no situation where driving off will better your position. No matter what your condition is when you’re stopped, there are defenses available to a drunk driving charge. Instead of making a much more significant mistake, it’s wiser to find out what they are.

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