New York Penal Code § 270.25: Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree

High speed police chases are quite dangerous. When a suspect decides to take off in a vehicle and drive at speeds in excess of the speed limit, the suspect, other drivers, pedestrians and police officers are all at risk of serious injury. The law requires that if the police order you to stop, you must stop. If instead you flee, you would have violated the law. There are three criminal offenses related to fleeing from a police officer in a vehicle. The least serious is unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree. Under New York Penal Code § 270.25 you will be charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree if after being directed to stop your vehicle by a police officer by the activation of the lights or siren, you attempt to flee by driving at speeds 25 mph or more in excess of the speed limit or by driving recklessly as defined by the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212.

Example

Early one morning a police officer on motor patrol on the Long Island Expressway noticed a blue car traveling at 83 MPH and changing lanes without signaling. The officer activated his lights and siren and pursued the blue car. The blue car, driven by Daniel, exited the highway and stopped at a red light at the end of the exit ramp. The officer pulled up behind the vehicle and recorded the car's license plate number. Daniel suddenly accelerated while the traffic light was still red. Daniel traveled at speeds reaching 92 MPH. The officer finally abandoned the pursuit in the interest of safety. Later on that day the officer went to Daniel's home and arrested him there. Daniel was charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree.

Related Offense
  1. Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 270.30
  2. Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 270.35
Defenses

You would not be guilty of unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree if you did not realize that the officer was ordering you to stop. For example, if the officer used just his lights to signal you to pull over and you initially did not notice the flashing lights, you would not have committed the crime of unlawful fleeing. In such a case to avoid prosecution you must stop as soon as you do realize that the police have ordered you to so do. In addition, you would not have committed this crime if you did not drive recklessly or at speeds exceeding 25 MPH above the speed limit. For example, if you take the police on a "slow speed chase" you may not be guilty of unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.

Sentence

Because unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to jail for up to one year and you could be ordered to pay a fine. In addition, the judge could sentence you to serve a probation term of 3 years.

New York Penal Code § 270.25: Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree

A person is guilty of unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree when, knowing that he or she has been directed to stop his or her motor vehicle by a uniformed police officer or a marked police vehicle by the activation of either the lights or the lights and siren of such vehicle, he or she thereafter attempts to flee such officer or such vehicle by driving at speeds which equal or exceed twenty-five miles per hour above the speed limit or engaging in reckless driving as defined by section twelve hundred twelve of the vehicle and traffic law.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Because unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, you may be inclined to not take it seriously. However, if you are convicted you could end up in jail for up to a year and face stiff fines. The best way to avoid these consequences is to be represented by someone with experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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