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  • Writer's picturePeter Lindstrom, Esq.

Navigating the Road Ahead: Strategies for Defending Against Fleeing in a Motor Vehicle Charges in MN

This offense is taken very seriously by the courts and prosecutors, given its potential for high-risk situations and public endangerment. The situation you got caught in may not have been endangering to people but the criminal justice system often treats every case as if it was a danger even if the factual circumstances were relatively benign. If you or a loved one has been charged with fleeing in a motor vehicle, it's imperative to understand the gravity of the charge and the defense strategies that may be available to you.

Understanding the Charge

In Minnesota, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle is outlined in Minnesota Statute 609.487. This statute makes it a felony to willfully attempt to flee or elude a peace officer who is lawfully exercising their duties. The moment you're accused of accelerating away from an officer’s signaled attempt to pull you over, you could be facing this serious charge, which can come with substantial penalties including imprisonment, fines, and a revocation of your driving privileges.

Potential Consequences

The potential consequences of a fleeing in a motor vehicle conviction are severe. They often include a felony record, incarceration, fines, and the loss of your driver's license. Moreover, this can also affect your insurance rates, employment opportunities, and even your reputation within the community.

Strategic Defense Approaches

As a defense lawyer, there are several angles from which we can approach a fleeing charge:

1. Challenge the Basis of the Stop: One of the first strategies we consider is whether the initial attempt to stop the vehicle was lawful. If the peace officer did not have a valid reason to initiate the stop, or if their signaling was unclear, there may be arguments to challenge this.

2. Question Identification and Intent: For a fleeing charge to stick, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was the individual operating the vehicle and that they intended to flee. We may present evidence or question witnesses to challenge the prosecution's assertion on these points.

3. Examine the Conduct of the Arresting Officer: The behavior and actions of the officer during the incident are critical. If their conduct was inappropriate or they failed to follow proper protocol, it might be possible to leverage these deficiencies in defense of the accused.

4. Negotiate Lesser Charges: Depending on the circumstances, we may negotiate with prosecutors for lesser charges, particularly if it’s a first offense, or if there are mitigating circumstances that could justify a reduction in the severity of the charges.

5. Argue Duress or Necessity: In rare cases, if the defendant fled for a reason that could be construed as necessary to avoid a greater harm, we might be able to argue duress or necessity. However, this defense is highly situational and must be approached with caution.

6. Present Contradictory Evidence: If there is evidence that contradicts the prosecution’s narrative, such as GPS data, surveillance footage, or witness testimony, it can be used to cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

Final Thoughts

Every case of fleeing in a motor vehicle is unique and requires a careful and detailed defense strategy. As a defense attorney, I work diligently to ensure that every angle is considered and that my clients’ rights are vigorously defended throughout the legal process. If you're facing such charges, it's essential to seek a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Together, we can navigate the complexities of the law and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact Subzero Criminal Defense and we may be able to start working on you case as soon as today. 651-248-5142. Subzero Criminal Defense provides a defense with intelligence, creativity, and grit.


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