NRS 484B.550: Evading or Eluding the Police in Nevada—Definition, Penalties, & Related Offenses
While it may make an exciting thing to watch, high speed chases can be incredibly dangerous. Not only are there risks of property damage or injury to the driver and passengers, but for any other pedestrians in the area. As such, those who evade a police officer risk hefty consequences.
Ignoring the signal of a law enforcement officer to stop your vehicle in Nevada is a criminal act referred to as evading the police or eluding the police. This crime can have serious legal repercussions, ranging from fines to imprisonment.
Note that it’s also considered eluding the police if you stop your vehicle, and then drive away after seeing or hearing that an officer wants you to stay put.
This crime is also not limited to vehicles. In fact, a man driving an electric scooter was arrested and charged with this crime (along with other related crimes).
If you or someone you know is facing charges related to evading or eluding police in Nevada, it’s important to seek legal help. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the details of your case and present a solid defense strategy.
The Defenders is a criminal defense firm with offices in Las Vegas and Reno that specializes in defending clients facing criminal charges, including evading or eluding the police. Our lawyers can provide experienced legal representation and help you get the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Definition of Evading or Eluding Police
Under Nevada’s law (NRS 484B.550), it is illegal to willfully flee or attempt to elude a police officer who pursuing you. If you’re found guilty of eluding the police, you could face a gross misdemeanor or felony charge. In addition to fines and possible jail time, if convicted, your driver’s license may be revoked and your vehicle impounded.
Evading the police in Nevada is defined as intentionally refusing to stop your vehicle when a law enforcement officer signals you to do so using a siren and a flashing red lamp, according to NRS 484B.550. As a law-abiding citizen, it’s crucial to immediately pull over when signaled by a police officer. Failing to stop as soon as it is safe to do so can result in charges of evading the police.
Examples of Evading the Police
In essence, evading a police officer involves the willful act of ignoring a law enforcement officer’s signal to stop. This action can manifest in various forms, including:
- Refusing to halt for a routine traffic stop (like a DUI checkpoint)
- Engaging in a high-speed chase
- Delaying or taking an excessive distance before finally stopping for a traffic stop
- Altering your course to escape the police
Legal Requirements for a Stop
It’s important to note that for a stop to be legal, certain requirements must be met. The law enforcement officer must:
- Initiate the stop while driving a distinctively marked vehicle.
- Be in uniform during the attempted stop.
- Signal the driver to stop using a siren and at least one red light that is visible from the front.
If these conditions are not met, the driver cannot be charged with evading the police.
Penalties for Evading the Police
The penalties for evading the police in Nevada vary depending on the circumstances and severity of the offense. They range from misdemeanors to felonies, with punishments escalating with the severity of the crime.
Standard Sentence or Misdemeanor Evading
Misdemeanor evading happens when a driver willfully fails to stop for a police officer but does not engage in dangerous driving, cause property damage, injury, or death, or drive under the influence.
The punishment for this offense can be up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Felony evading occurs under more serious circumstances. If the driver evades police while driving under the influence, causing property damage, or driving dangerously, they can be charged with a Category D felony. This crime carries a penalty of 1 to 4 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Further, if while evading, a driver causes a fatality or serious injury, or significant property damage, they can be charged with a Category B felony. This offense carries a penalty of 1 to 6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
If a fatality or serious injury is involved, the penalties escalate to 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Here’s a summary of the different charges and penalties:
|Standard Sentence||A driver willfully fails to stop for a police officer but does not engage in dangerous driving, cause property damage, injury, or death, or drive under the influence.||Misdemeanor, carrying up to 6 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000|
|Evading While Under The Influence||The driver was also intoxicated by drugs or alcohol at the time of evading, disregarding a traffic stop.||Category D felony, carrying 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.|
|Evading While Driving Dangerously or Causing Damage||The driver causes damage to another person’s property or was driving in a way likely to endanger people or property while evading.||Category B felony charges, carrying 1 to 6 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines.|
|Evading Causing Death or Serious Injury||The driver, while evading, causes a fatality or serious injury.||Category B felony, carrying 2 to 20 years in prison and/or up to $50,000 in fines.|
Legal Defenses Against Evading Police Charges in Nevada
A competent defense attorney can utilize various defenses to contest the charge of evading police. These defenses are tailored to the specific circumstances of your case and can include:
The official signal that Nevada police must use to initiate a traffic stop is a flashing red light and a siren. If the police used the wrong signal or if their signal was broken, then a defense can be mounted on these grounds.
Lack of Intent
Evading is an intentional crime in Nevada.
This means that you should not be convicted unless you willfully ignored the police’s signal to stop your vehicle. If you genuinely did not notice the police were there or if you were suffering a disabling medical episode, these could form the basis of a defense.
Unsafe to Pull Over
It’s possible to argue that you failed to pull over because it was unsafe to do so. Evidence such as video recordings and eyewitness testimony can substantiate this claim.
Lack of Evidence
The prosecution must provide sufficient evidence to prove all elements of the crime of evading the police. If such evidence is lacking, a defense can be built on this ground.
Sealing Criminal Records
The waiting period to seal an evading case varies depending on the category of the conviction. For misdemeanor convictions, the waiting period is one year after the case ends. For category D and B felony convictions, the waiting period is five years after the case ends.
There are several offenses related to evading the police, including:
Resisting arrest occurs when a person tries to prevent a police officer from carrying out an arrest or other duties. Penalties range depending on whether a weapon was used during the act of resistance.
Obstructing Public Officers
Obstructing a public officer occurs when a person lies to or withholds information from a public officer. This is generally punished as a misdemeanor carrying fines of up to $1,000 and prison time of up to 6 months.
Battery on a Peace Officer
Battery of a peace officer involves applying unlawful physical force on a police officer. Depending on the severity and circumstances, this can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Escaping from Custody
Escaping custody occurs when a person breaks out of or flees from prison, jail, or police custody. The penalties for this offense depend on the original crime of incarceration.
Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re charged with evading the police, hiring a criminal defense attorney is crucial. The attorney can evaluate your case, guide you through the complex legal process, and help build a robust defense strategy. By doing so, they can potentially get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
If you’re facing charges for evading the police in Nevada, act promptly. Reach out to a well-reputed criminal defense attorney for a free initial review of your case. The attorney can provide a comprehensive understanding of your legal situation and suggest the best course of action.
The Defenders is a Nevada-based law firm with experienced criminal defense attorneys. Our lawyers have won numerous cases and are well-versed in the nuances of Nevada’s criminal justice system.
If you’re facing charges for evading the police, contact The Defenders today and get personalized legal advice. Contact our team for a free case evaluation.