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When Is Evading Arrest a Felony in Tennessee?

Because the statutes in Tennessee, as in all other states and the country as a whole, are designed to protect every citizen from harmful or unfair conduct, when a person violates a law, they are to be held on trial to determine whether or not they are guilty of the alleged offense. The police are charged with enforcing laws established by policymakers and may take violators into custody.

Unfortunately, out of fear of facing severe consequences, such as incarceration, some people may try to elude police to avoid being arrested for a crime. However, doing that is also an offense referred to as evading arrest, and it can come with harsh punishments as well.

Evading arrest can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the level depends on the circumstances of the incident.

Misdemeanor Evading Arrest

As mentioned earlier, it's a crime to try to elude officers who are attempting to enforce laws. If a person flees by any means when they know an officer is attempting to arrest them or they have been arrested, they are considered to be violating the law. For instance, suppose Mark robbed a store. The police arrived at the scene before Mark left and told him they were arresting him on suspicion of committing a robbery. Instead of surrendering to the police, Mark ran. He was four blocks away when the officers caught up to him. In addition to being charged with robbery, Mark could also be charged with evading arrest.

In the example given above, evading arrest is a class A misdemeanor offense.

If Mark is convicted, he could be looking at up to:

  • 11 months, 29 days in jail, and/or
  • $2,500 in fines

Felony Evading Arrest

Tennessee law also has felony-level evading arrest charges. A person could be facing this if they are operating a motor vehicle when they attempt to flee a police officer. For the individual to be breaking the law, they must have been given a clear signal from the cop to stop their car.

Let's return to the example of Mark and the robbery. Say, instead of running from the officers, Mark fled the scene in his car. He saw the flashing lights of a police cruiser behind him but kept driving. Eventually, he crashed into a vehicle parked on the side of the road, and the cops apprehended him.

Now, Mark can be charged with a Class E felony evading arrest (he could also be accused of other crimes, such as reckless driving).

The punishments for a conviction include:

  • Not less than 30 days in confinement, and/or
  • Not more than $3,000 in fines

However, let's say the car Mark crashed into was occupied. Because his actions put an innocent bystander at risk of injury or death, he could now be facing a Class D felony.

Mark could be looking at:

  • Not less than 60 days confinement
  • Not more than $5,000 in fines

Reach Out to Eldridge & Blakney Today

If you have been accused of committing an offense in Knoxville, reach out to our attorneys today. We will be committed to providing strong legal representation to help challenge the allegations and seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Get over 90 years of combined experience on your side by calling us at (865) 544-2010 or contacting us online.