Driving in the opposite direction of traffic into oncoming vehicles is considered one of the most hazardous actions a driver can take. Head-on collisions resulting from such behavior can lead to extensive property damage, severe bodily harm, and loss of life. Recognizing the immense risk associated with this act, the California legislature has implemented California Vehicle Code Section 2800.4 VC. This legal provision specifically prohibits individuals from evading a peace officer by driving in the opposite direction of traffic.
To secure a conviction under this statute, a prosecutor must establish the following elements:
- The defendant was actively evading or attempting to evade a police officer, which constitutes a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 VC
- During the commission of the aforementioned act, the defendant intentionally drove their vehicle against the flow of traffic.
Suppose a driver, John, is driving recklessly and a police officer notices his behavior. The officer attempts to stop John by activating their emergency lights and sirens. However, instead of pulling over, John intentionally decides to evade the police officer by making a dangerous move. He quickly turns his vehicle around and starts driving in the opposite direction of traffic on a busy highway.
As John drives against the flow of traffic, other drivers are forced to swerve, brake abruptly, or even collide with each other to avoid a potential collision with John’s vehicle. This action endangers the lives of other drivers, pedestrians, and John himself.
If caught, John could be charged with violation of California Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC, which states that it is illegal to knowingly evade a peace officer by driving in the opposite direction of traffic. This violation is a serious offense and carries significant penalties, including fines, points on the driver’s record, license suspension, and even imprisonment, depending on the circumstances and prior convictions.
Violating California Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC – Evading a Peace Officer by Driving in the Opposite Direction of Traffic can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
If charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include imprisonment in the county jail for a period of six months to one year, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. In some cases, instead of jail time, a judge may order the defendant to misdemeanor probation, also known as “summary” or “informal” probation.
In the case of a felony charge, the potential penalties include imprisonment in a California state prison for up to three years, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. Similarly, a judge may also choose to impose felony probation, also known as “formal” probation, as an alternative to incarceration.
It is important to note that the actual penalties imposed will depend on various factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the offense, and any additional circumstances surrounding the incident.
Under Vehicle Code 2800.4, a person accused of evading a police officer by driving in the opposite direction of traffic can raise legal defenses to challenge the accusation. Three common defenses include:
- No willful act: In order to be guilty of violating Vehicle Code 2800.4, the defendant’s actions must be willful or done with a specific purpose. A valid defense is for the defendant to show that his actions were not willful. For example, if the defendant collided with another car, resulting in him driving in the opposite direction of traffic, this could be argued as not willful, as it was caused by the collision.
- Not evading a police officer: A prosecutor must prove that the accused was evading the police in order to secure a conviction. To defend against this charge, the accused can show that although he may have been driving against traffic, he was not intentionally evading the police. It should be noted, however, that the defendant could still be guilty of driving on the wrong side of the road under Vehicle Code 21651(b).
- Necessity: The necessity defense allows a defendant to argue that they had a valid and sufficient reason to commit the crime. In the context of a Vehicle Code 2800.4 violation, a defendant could attempt to show that the crime was committed out of necessity, such as during an extreme emergency when there were no other viable alternatives. This defense essentially argues that the defendant acted out of true necessity and should therefore be excused from guilt.
It is important to note that hiring a criminal defense attorney is crucial to ensure the most effective defense in challenging a Vehicle Code 2800.4 accusation. A skilled attorney can help build a strong defense strategy based on the specific circumstances of the case.
The immigration consequences of this offense can vary depending on various factors such as the person’s immigration status, prior criminal history, and other relevant factors.
Generally, a conviction for a crime such as evading a peace officer can have immigration consequences, particularly for non-U.S. citizens who are not permanent residents. It may potentially result in negative immigration consequences such as deportation, inadmissibility, or impact on future immigration benefits.
If you or someone you know is charged with this crime, it is strongly advisable that you also consult with an immigration lawyer. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.
- Evading a Peace Officer – California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 VC
- Reckless Evading of a Peace Officer – California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 VC
- Evading a Peace Officer and Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury – California Vehicle Code Section 2800.3 VC
- Resisting Arrest – California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC
- Reckless Driving – California Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC
Speak With Criminal Defense Lawyer From Tabibnia Law Firm
If you have been charged with evading a peace officer by driving in the opposite direction of traffic, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer promptly. One law firm that can assist you is Tabibnia Law Firm, where Cyrus Tabibnia has more than 18 years of experience in criminal defense law. By consulting with Mr. Tabibnia, he can thoroughly review the specifics of your case and advocate for your rights and defense.
To learn more about the charges related to evading a peace officer by driving in the opposite direction of traffic and to schedule a free consultation, you can contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Cyrus Tabibnia at 866-713-2159. Mr. Tabibnia is available to provide further information and discuss your case.