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Driving Offenses

Failure To Stop / Eluding / Roadblocks

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The following is not legal advice but is for information only. Legal advice is when an attorney applies the law to a person's individual circumstances and advises them on their legal options or potential exposure to legal harm, which a web page clearly does not.

There are three offenses that result from a driver failing to stop for a police officer. One is a simple failing to stop, and another is eluding. There is also an offense of passing a roadblock.

 

Failure To Stop

On the first, a driver who fails or refuses to stop a motor vehicle on request or signal of a ‘uniformed’ law enforcement officer has committed a misdemeanor. That is a class E offense, which has a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

 

Several things of note here. Even though the statute says the officer has to be in uniform, Maine’s highest court has chosen to ignore that and upheld a conviction when an officer was not, in fact, in uniform. The ‘signal’ of the officer can be a hand gesture or the more obvious lights and siren. 

 

A failure to stop is a failure obvious ‘lesser included’ offense of eluding. That means you could not be convicted of both offenses without it being a double jeopardy problem.

 

Eluding

For eluding, there are the same elements of a failure to stop - except that the driver operates their vehicle at a reckless rate of speed that results in a high-speed chase involving the law enforcement vehicle using a blue light and siren.  Clearly a driver has to hear the cruiser’s siren or see them in their rear view mirror. It has been known for this to be a triable issue on vehicles like an ATV which is loud and not fitted with mirrors.

 

Eluding an officer is normally a Class C felony, which has a maximum prison term of five years and a maximum fine of $5,000. However, if the eluding results in serious bodily injury it would be charged as aggravated eluding an officer, which is a class B felony - carrying a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000. 

 

Passing a roadblock

This offense is pretty self-explanatory. If a driver passes a vehicle, physical barrier, or other obstruction placed on a road at the direction of a law enforcement officer, that is a class C felony. This has a maximum prison term of five years and a maximum fine of $5,000. This charge is problematic because it would cover what some might regard as innocent behavior since no high rate of speed is required in the statute. Going around a block at 5mph to get home would technically be a felony but that does not address the underlying reason for the statute.

 

Passing a roadblock would be charged as an aggravated offense with an even higher penalty if a driver passes or attempts to pass a roadblock and another person suffers serious bodily injury. That is a class B felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000. 

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