Man was Charged with Fleeing and Evading

Man was Arrested and Charged with Fleeing and EvadingPolice arrived at the Quality Inn in Louisville on a report of domestic violence.  A man attempted to escape the area on foot.  When police caught up with him, they noticed he was missing his fanny pack.  Now, in full disclosure, I wouldn’t want to be caught with one either.  However, when officers searched the area, they found the fanny pack loaded with drugs.  Among other drug-related charges, the man was charged with fleeing and evading the police.

When law enforcement wants to hammer a defendant, they’ll load up the charges.  Fleeing and evading can be charged in either the first or second degree, depending on the circumstances.

What is Fleeing and Evading Police?

Let’s use the above example to explain it.  In this case, the person left the scene right after he allegedly committed an act of domestic violence.  This element is a critical factor in the charge.  He allegedly heard and knew the police were after him but he ignored their orders to stop.  Again, this too is a necessary factor.  As a result, the man was charged with fleeing and evading police, which is a Class D felony in Kentucky.

Fleeing and evading can either be on foot or in a vehicle.  Now, if the element of domestic violence was not present, and assume a defendant took off in a car, would this qualify?

Actually, under Kentucky law, you can also be charged with fleeing and evading police if:

  • You’re operating a motor vehicle and refuse to stop, know the order has been given by a police officer, and
  • It’s done immediately following the act of domestic violence, or
  • You’re operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or
  • You’re driving with a suspended license due to a prior DUI, or
  • While fleeing you cause or create the risk of substantial serious injury, death or property damage.

Obviously, given the fact that police recovered cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the fanny pack, they want to build a strong case with a string of charges in an attempt to get the defendant off the streets.  As an experienced Louisville criminal defense lawyer, I’d force police to prove the pack actually belonged to the defendant.  While the victim stated he was wearing it, eye-witness testimony, especially after a traumatic experience may be called into question.  Who knows how that pack actually got there?

Police officers know domestic violence is a dangerous situation.  They often roll up hard.  Is it reasonable to assume the defendant may have had a legitimate fear for his own safety?  As an African-American, one could argue his fear may have been reasonable.  Could this be a possible defense against the fact that the man was charged with fleeing and evading?  Possibly.

As I’ve often stated, it’s the role of the defense attorney to vigorously defend his/her client and make the prosecution prove each and every charge is valid.  There’s no such thing as a slam dunk case.  I for one, make sure of it.  If you can’t prove it, you can’t convict based on it.