If you’re like many people, you have no idea what happens to you if you run from the police during a traffic stop and they eventually catch you – other than the fact that they will most likely catch you.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Happens if You Run From the Cops During a Traffic Stop?
Fleeing from a police officer is actually a crime in Wisconsin. If you disregard a police officer’s signal to stop (which can include either lights or sirens, or a combination of both), you could be charged with fleeing or eluding.
Technically, 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.”
In order to prove that you’re guilty and get a conviction, the prosecutor in your case has to show that you knew the police wanted you to stop, you willfully disregarded the officer’s signal and you did something like speed up or turn off your lights so the police couldn’t find you.
Penalties for Fleeing or Eluding
If you’re convicted, you’re looking at a Class I felony. However, it could be even worse. If you harm someone else or damage property, it becomes a Class H felony. If you cause great bodily harm, it’s a Class F felony, and if someone else dies as a result, it’s a Class E felony.