If you are charged with Fleeing or Eluding Police Officer 4th Degree in Livonia, Michigan, you need the help of an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney. I can provide you with nearly 20 years of experience and a willingness to fight and take cases to trial.
Fleeing/Eluding, 4th Degree under the Motor Vehicle Code is a class G felony that carries up to 2 years in prison (24 months). If you are arrested and charged with Fleeing or Eluding Police Officer 4th Degree, your first court appearance will be an arraignment in the 16th District Court in Livonia, Michigan. Learn more about an arraignment now. At the arraignment, your case will be scheduled for a probable cause conference and a preliminary examination. Bond will also be addressed at the arraignment. The probable cause conference must be scheduled within 7 to 14 days of the arraignment with the preliminary examination scheduled within 5 to 7 days after the probable cause conference.
Following the preliminary examination, further proceedings are held in the Wayne County Circuit Court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. If there is virtually any evidence supporting the prosecutor's case, it is extremely likely that the matter will be bound over in the district court. Nonetheless, I almost always challenge cases at the preliminary examination because it is the best opportunity that the defense is presented for challenging the evidence and developing the facts that will support defenses in the circuit court. DO NOT WAIVE THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION WITHOUT MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION.
The charge of Fleeing or Eluding Police Officer 4th Degree is detailed in the Michigan compiled laws, MCL 257.602a(2). The provisions of MCL 257.602a state:
(1) A driver of a motor vehicle who is given by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren a visual or audible signal by a police or conservation officer, acting in the lawful performance of his or her duty, directing the driver to bring his or her motor vehicle to a stop shall not willfully fail to obey that direction by increasing the speed of the motor vehicle, extinguishing the lights of the motor vehicle, or otherwise attempting to flee or elude the officer. This subsection does not apply unless the police or conservation officer giving the signal is in uniform and the officer's vehicle is identified as an official police or department of natural resources vehicle.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), (4), or (5), an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4) or (5), an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of third-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both, if 1 or more of the following circumstances apply:
(a) The violation results in a collision or accident.
(b) A portion of the violation occurred in an area where the speed limit is 35 miles an hour or less, whether that speed limit is posted or imposed as a matter of law.
(c) The individual has a prior conviction for fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, attempted fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, or fleeing and eluding under a current or former law of this state prohibiting substantially similar conduct.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of second-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both, if 1 or more of the following circumstances apply:
(a) The violation results in serious injury to an individual.
(b) The individual has 1 or more prior convictions for first-, second-, or third-degree fleeing and eluding, attempted first-, second-, or third-degree fleeing and eluding, or fleeing and eluding under a current or former law of this state prohibiting substantially similar conduct.
(c) The individual has any combination of 2 or more prior convictions for fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, attempted fourth-degree fleeing and eluding, or fleeing and eluding under a current or former law of this state prohibiting substantially similar conduct.
(5) If the violation results in the death of another individual, an individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of first-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.
(6) A conviction under this section does not prohibit a conviction and sentence under any other applicable provision, except section 479a(2), (3), (4), or (5) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.479a, for conduct arising out of the same transaction.
(7) As used in this section, serious injury means a physical injury that is not necessarily permanent, but that constitutes serious bodily disfigurement or that seriously impairs the functioning of a body organ or limb. Serious injury includes, but is not limited to, 1 or more of the following:
(a) Loss of a limb or use of a limb.
(b) Loss of a hand, foot, finger, or thumb or use of a hand, foot, finger, or thumb.
(c) Loss of an eye or ear or use of an eye or ear.
(d) Loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function.
(e) Serious visible disfigurement.
(f) A comatose state that lasts for more than 3 days.
(g) Measurable brain damage or mental impairment.
(h) A skull fracture or other serious bone fracture.
(i) Subdural hemorrhage or hematoma.
Fleeing or Eluding Police Officer 4th Degree under Michigan sentencing guidelines is scored under crimes against public safety (Pub Saf). Under the guidelines, a person who is convicted of Fleeing/Eluding, 4th Degree under the Motor Vehicle Code with no prior record and no aggravating factors looks to the low end of the guidelines which call for up to 3 months. With no prior criminal record but horrible facts, the defendant can face 9 months. With a terrible criminal record and terrible facts, the accused can be looking at 23* months under the guidelines.
The jury instructions set forth the following elements for Fleeing/Eluding, 4th Degree under the Motor Vehicle Code that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney:
M Crim JI 13.6d Fleeing and Eluding in the Fourth Degree
(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of fleeing and eluding in the fourth degree. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that a [police / conservation] officer was in uniform and was performing [his / her] lawful duties [and that any vehicle driven by the officer was adequately marked as a law enforcement vehicle].
(3) Second, that the defendant was driving a motor vehicle.
(4) Third, that the officer ordered that the defendant stop [his / her] vehicle.
(5) Fourth, that the defendant knew of the order.
(6) Fifth, that the defendant refused to obey the order by trying to flee or avoid being caught.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the jury instructions while preparing a defense to the offense of Fleeing or Eluding Police Officer 4th Degree. While there are a number of defenses to Fleeing/Eluding, 4th Degree under the Motor Vehicle Code that we can explore during a consultation, the elements contained in M Crim JI 13.6d provide a roadmap for defending the case. This is true in almost every single case, and really great defense attorneys focus early on these jury instructions.
As a cautionary note, you might be completely innocent but still face criminal charges. Even worse, you might be denied bail, forced to spend months in jail before you are vindicated. I have seen many cases where a truly innocent client is baffled, angry and scared, completely unable to understand why police and prosecutors are gunning to get a conviction. So long as probable cause is established at the preliminary examination, then the matter will be bound over for trial in the 3rd Circuit Court for the County of Wayne and further proceedings will be held in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. This is why it is so important that you contact an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney to help you defend against criminal charges in the 16th District Court.
*represents an aberration under the guidelines that might result in county jail time or violate the 2/3rd maximum minimum rules under the guidelines, which is something that must be discussed with your attorney.