Fleeing from an Unlawful Traffic Stop

"The officer had absolutely no reason to stop me. So, I kept going and drove home and parked in my driveway and then got arrested."

This is an all-too-common refrain, which is told to hundreds of attorneys every day. Before you start down this road, make sure you remind yourself that you have no idea whatsoever why the officer has activated the emergency lights and is commanding you to pull over. Some of the old standby 'pretextual' stops -- like a tail light out, object hanging from a rear-view mirror, or a recently expired registration -- will now potentially lead to the exclusion of some or all the evidence in a Virginia Court. That being said, the command to pull over is still valid, even if the evidence of the underlying crime may later be excluded by the Court.

Further, if you commit other crimes or traffic offenses while you are driving home and refusing to stop, all those charges are almost certainly legitimate charges. A traffic stop is almost universally considered to be a temporary investigative detention. There is no right to resist an unlawful investigatory detention, so any act of resisting or fleeing from a traffic stop is very likely to be considered a criminal act and/or a traffic violation.

Eventually, a court might exclude the evidence related to whatever offense caused the officer to originally activate the emergency lights. However, refusing to stop or fleeing will very likely result in its own set of charges, as bad as or worse than, the original offense. It is never a good idea to decide what the officer knows and what reason the officer may have to stop you -- pull over, be polite and respectful, and go on your way.

If you are in this situation and would like to speak with an attorney, please feel free to contact my office to arrange for a free consultation.

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"This page is not an advertisement; it is a blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of attorney Robert Lorey. The purpose of these articles is to inform the public regarding various issues involving the criminal justice system and should not be construed to suggest a similar outcome in any other case. The outcome of any case depends on a myriad of factors which are well outside this blog post."

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