A suspect is facing felony charges after a 15-minute vehicle pursuit in Hyde Park that left 2 police officers injured.
According to reports, the Los Angeles Police Department officers were in their patrol car, attempting to pull over a driver for suspected driving under the influence (DUI), when he fled the scene. The driver, described as a male in his 30s, was driving a black SUV in the Westlake area on Wilshire Boulevard at about 2:50am when the pursuit began. Over a course of about 15 minutes, the pursuit continued approximately 85 blocks south through downtown Los Angeles before ending after 3:00am at the intersection of West Florence Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.
The two LAPD officers were injured when their vehicle struck a street pole on Eighth Avenue in Hyde Park. They were treated by paramedics at the scene and did not require hospitalization.
The suspect, who refused to provide any information as to his identity to the police, was arrested and faces DUI and felony evasion charges.
Evading an Officer Charges in California
In California, a driver may face misdemeanor or felony charges for evading an officer. Described in California Vehicle Code § 2800.1, evading an officer occurs when a person willfully flees or otherwise attempts to elude a uniformed police officer in a marked patrol car, motorcycle or other police vehicle. As long as the officer properly used the lights and siren on the vehicle, a person may be charged with evading an officer if he or she does not pull over and stop as indicated by the officer. This offense is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A driver may also face vehicle impoundment and license suspension.
Felony evasion charges may apply under California Vehicle Code § 2800.2 if a person is accused of driving with a "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others" while evading an officer. Causing property damage or committing three or more traffic violations while willfully evading an officer may result in this enhanced charge. A conviction for felony evasion may carry a term of imprisonment in state prison of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years along with fines, vehicle impoundment and driver's license suspension. Specific sentencing will vary depending on the unique case and jurisdiction.
In the above case, the suspect faces DUI charges and felony evasion charges. This means that he may face penalties associated with both offenses, if he is found guilty or pleads guilty to both. Even a first DUI in California can carry harsh penalties, including county jail time, fines, license suspension, court fees and mandatory community service, alcohol rehabilitation and drunk driving education. A driver may also face increased insurance costs for years after his or her conviction.
Fighting DUI and other criminal traffic violations is essential if you are to preserve your freedom and driving privileges. At Lessem & Newstat, we offer experienced criminal defense counsel to clients across Los Angeles and all of Southern California in all types of driving-related offenses, including DUI, DUI causing injury, vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving and evading an officer. To learn more about the steps our trial attorneys can take to protect your constitutional rights in the face of such allegations or charges, please call our offices for a confidential consultation and case review. We are standing by to see how we can help.