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What Does It Mean to Unlawfully Flee from Police?

Running away from a Tennessee police officer is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. However, even though many people may know generally that it is not good to flee from police, they may not fully understand what constitutes fleeing from law enforcement or an arrest under Tennesee law.

According to the Findlaw website, Tennessee Code Title 39 specifies the circumstances of fleeing law enforcement. First, a person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if the individual attempts to flee a law enforcement officer after being arrested by using any means of locomotion. This can include any automobile the person may use to try and escape. However, a person does not have to be arrested in order to engage in evasion of arrest. If someone sees a law enforcement official and is aware the officer is approaching to arrest him or her, trying to escape from the officer is considered a violation of Title 39.

Additionally, a person may be guilty of unlawfully fleeing a police officer by refusing to stop a motor vehicle when an officer signals the person to stop. Police may wave or flash car or motorcycle lights at a motorist for reasons ranging from traffic violations to a vehicle search. Should a motorist instead drive off with an intention to escape the officer, a violation of Title 39 has occurred, which is punishable as a Class E felony. If the fleeing motorist puts innocent pedestrians or other separate parties at risk of injury or death, the violation is upgraded to a Class D felony.

In short, Tennessee law takes fleeing from law enforcement officials very seriously. Depending on the fleeing party’s actions, the level of punishment can increase substantially and involve long-term consequences, particularly if other people are put at risk.

This article is intended to educate readers on the subject of someone trying to flee law enforcement and is not to be taken as legal advice.