Attempt to Elude an Officer in Anne Arundel County
As defined by Maryland law in Anne Arundel County, an attempt to elude an officer, or AEO, occurs when there is an indication that a driver tried to escape or avoid being stopped or pulled over for a valid traffic stop initiated by the officer. This is a separate issue from a driver simply failing to stop for the officer in a timely manner because they did not notice the lights or were searching for an appropriate location to pull over.
Attempt to elude an officer in Anne Arundel is a very serious charge that could make other traffic infractions much worse. Additionally, if there is any other charge that would result from the traffic stop such as drug or illegal firearms possession, those charges will be enhanced by the attempt to run. If you have been charged with attempting to run from an officer, it is essential that you call an attorney to protect you from the prosecution.
AEO Charge Process in Anne Arundel County
AEO charges most commonly are the result of a failure to stop. A driver may not have seen the officer, waited too long to find a safe place to pull over, or panicked and continued to drive. AEO charges are common in Anne Arundel though not as common as other traffic offenses or DUIs.
AOE charges are similar to any other criminal charge. The driver is charged, arrested, possibly released, and notified of a court date. During their hearing, the driver will appear before a judge, meet the prosecutor and police officers, and witnesses will testify pursuant to the allegation. A driver in Anne Arundel can be charged with a misdemeanor and potentially receive jail time for an AEO.
Officers Misinterpreting Elusive Actions
If a driver purposely exits a highway after seeing a police officer clock their speed, an AEO case will not be adequately proven unless it could also be confirmed that the police officer subsequently pursued the driver and made their presence known. Until the officer turns on their lights, starts to pursue the vehicle, and it is reasonable that the driver should have seen the lights, it is impossible for a driver to be attempting to elude.
Searching for a safe place to pull over may also be misinterpreted as an attempt to elude an officer because when a driver does not immediately pull over, it often creates a heightened sense of caution, awareness, and hesitation for the officer. Drivers who do not initially stop for whatever reason can be misidentified by police as individuals seeking to elude law enforcement efforts for a potentially dangerous reason, which could result in a misinterpretation of their behavior.
What To Expect From an Anne Arundel AEO Case
If a driver does not immediately pull over for an officer, the officer might consider whether or not the driver speeds up, veers in and out of traffic, or otherwise drives differently from before the officer’s initiation of the traffic encounter in order to determine if they are fleeing. Traffic encounters commonly occur when an individual either commits a traffic infraction or the officer has an independent basis on which to pull the individual over. Unfortunately, in many cases when a driver does not immediately pull over, the officers may assume that the driver is attempting to run away.
In Anne Arundel, drivers can expect an AEO case to be taken seriously by the judge because a driver speeding away in an effort to elude police creates a direct danger to other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and the officer in pursuit. Those who flee from police often do so to avoid being charged with another offense, such as possession of contraband or if they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest.
A Traffic Lawyer May be Able to Help
An Anne Arundel traffic lawyer could assist those facing AEO charges by assesses whether or not the incident truly constituted fleeing and eluding. Oftentimes, overzealous police officers charge a driver with fleeing and eluding for not stopping as quickly as they wanted the driver to when, in fact, the driver was simply speeding and could not pull over quickly enough or they were searching for a safe location at which to stop their vehicle.
A lawyer could also argue that if their driver did not realize that they were being pursued, they cannot be held accountable for fleeing. If you have been charged with an attempt to elude an officer in Anne Arundel County, call a traffic attorney immediately to protect your rights and fight for a positive outcome to your case.