The Need For Speed: Car Chases and Their Repercussions
Car chases are often portrayed as very exciting scenes in many movies. Franchises like Fast and the Furious and James Bond capitalize on the popularity of these scenes. The depictions of fast moving vehicles and near-miss collisions draw audiences from the amount of action that these scenes highlight. However, outside the big screen, the reality is that high speed car chases are actually very dangerous.
The Dangers of High Speed Chases
This sentiment is echoed in an NJ.com article pertaining to a police chase that occured on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. On Friday April 8, 2016, a motorist was struck by a dodge charger at around 8:00 p.m.. Although the accident occurred in Nanuet, N.Y., police stationed themselves along the highway to locate the vehicle. Police made an attempt to pull the vehicle over, but instead the vehicle fled. Officers chased the vehicle on the highway, then onto local streets, and eventually through the George Washington Bridge toll plaza, after which the assailant eventually stopped. At that point he was arrested and sent to Bergen County jail with a $50,000 bond.
Last year in November, NorthJersey.com reported on an even more harrowing car chase in which a black Chrysler 200 took police on a chase on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. At times, the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The driver, David Campos, at some points during the chase was driving on the wrong side of the highway. This posed the risk of a head-on collision with another vehicle. Campos allegedly killed a woman he was romantically involved with, which is why police were attempting to detain him. After police eventually boxed the vehicle in, Campos was arrested and then taken to Bergen County jail on charges of attempting to elude police.
Eluding Police Officers
The New Jersey statute for eluding a police officer is covered under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b. Under this statute, if a person operating a motor vehicle, even if they were not breaking any law, does not pull their vehicle over when signaled to by police, then they could be charged with eluding a police officer. In the event you are charged with eluding police, you could be facing potential felony charges, which can carry prison terms.
If you are charged with eluding police, prosecutors will attempt to prove that you were knowingly eluding the police. This is where evidence, like videos, may be beneficial to your case. Since eluding cases occur in public, there may be red light cameras, or even local surveillance cameras, with records of the events preceding your arrest. These recordings may show that you were not trying to avoid police, or that maybe there was something obstructing your view of the officer, or that police lights and sirens were never turned on. In any event, this evidence must be gathered quickly as some recording devices may be cleared after a certain amount of time has passed.
A charge of eluding police can be very jarring. If somehow you were unable to pull off the road, but an officer feels you ignored their signal to pull over, you may still be charged with a felony crime. Many times there may be legitimate reasons for why you could not pull your vehicle over, or why you did not know the police were even behind you. To defend this kind of charge you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney like Phillip J. Murphy. Phillip J. Murphy is licensed to practice in New Jersey and has been practicing law since 1989. Contact us today to discuss your options.