New York Penal Code § 270.35: Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree

If you flee from the police after the police have ordered you to stop, you would have violated the law. When the police chase a suspect who is driving at high speeds breaking multiple traffic laws, there is a significant possibility that someone will be seriously injured. In fact, there have been many cases in which a pedestrian, the driver of another vehicle, or a police officer has been killed as a result of a suspect fleeing from the police in a vehicle. There are three criminal offenses related to fleeing from a police officer in a vehicle. The specific charge that you will face depends on whether or not someone was injured or killed as a result of your actions. Unlawful fleeing a police officer in the first degree is the most serious charge. Under New York Penal Code § 270.35 you will be charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree if after being directed to stop your vehicle by a police officer, you 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, and as a result a police officer or a third person is killed.

Example

Jennifer was speeding in a residential area. A police officer activated his siren and lights, signaling her to pull over. Instead of pulling over Jennifer accelerated, driving at speeds well over 25 mph over the speed limit. In an effort to get away from the police, Jennifer ran through 3 red lights. She then struck a woman and child who were in a crosswalk. The child died at the scene and the woman was critically injured. Jennifer was later arrested and charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree based on killing the child and unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the second degree based on injuring the woman.

Related Offense
  1. Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 270.25
  2. Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 270.30
Defenses

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 even if in the process you hit and kill a bystander.

Sentence

Because unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree is a class D felony if you are convicted you could be sent to prison for up 7 years and you could be ordered to pay a substantial fine. In addition, the judge could sentence you to serve a probation term of 5 years.

New York Penal Code § 270.30: Unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the second degree

A person is guilty of unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree when he or she commits the offense of unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree, as defined in § 270.25 of this article, and as a result of such conduct a police officer or a third person is killed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been arrested and charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the first degree, it is important that you have experienced representation. 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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