You’ve seen a dozen movies and Dukes of Hazzard reruns, and the outcome is the same: The suspects flee the police and drive off into the sunset, and the police never end up catching them. But is that really what happens in real life?
What Happens if You Escape a Police Chase?
There are so many safeguards in place that prevent a person from escaping the police that it’s almost impossible to evade them during a chase – and even if you are successful in getting away, there’s a good chance they already know who you are and where you live (thanks to your license plate and other identifying factors). The police will come knocking on your door after you think you’re home-free – and the consequences aren’t pretty.
If a police officer signals you to stop and you choose to speed up or turn off your lights in an attempt to elude the officer, the state can find you guilty and send you straight to prison.
The law says, “No operator of a vehicle, after having received a visual or audible signal from a traffic officer, or marked police vehicle, shall knowingly flee or attempt to elude any traffic officer by willful or wanton disregard of such signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of the police vehicle, or the traffic officer or other vehicles or pedestrians, nor shall the operator increase the speed of the operator’s vehicle or extinguish the lights of the vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee.”
You’ll end up facing a Class I felony, which means if the judge convicts you, you can go to prison for a year and a half. Once you’re out, you’re subject to up to 2 years of extended supervision – and that’s after you’ve paid fines of up to $10,000. Those penalties can be increased, too. For example:
- If you cause someone bodily harm or damage property while you’re committing this crime, the state can find you guilty of a Class H felony (for which the penalty can be 3 years in prison and 3 years of extended supervision)
- If you cause someone great bodily harm, the state can find you guilty of a Class F felony (that’s up to 7 years, 6 months in prison, 5 years of extended supervision, and $25,000 in fines)
- If you cause someone else’s death, the state can find you guilty of a Class E felony (for which the penalty can be up to 10 years in prison, 5 years of extended supervision, and fines of up to $50,000)
Related: Criminal penalties in Wisconsin
Were You Busted After Escaping a Police Chase?
If you attempted to flee or successfully eluded a police officer but were later caught, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now for a free consultation. We can answer your questions and give you the legal advice you need right now.