FAILING TO STOP FOR POLICE
If you fail to stop for police when signalled or requested to do so, there is a possibility that you could go to jail.
Failing to stop for police is a serious crime in Canada. If you are charged with failing to stop for police, it is important you hire the right lawyer to defend you.
The long-term consequences of a criminal record can be severe even if you escape with a fine.
At Wilson Criminal Defence, we can help you avoid paying a significant price for the rest of your life due to a single error of judgement on the roads.
What is the Charge of Failing to Stop for Police?
Usually, when a police officer signals you to pull over, it is either a routine check or they have reasonable grounds that a crime is being committed.
Either way, you are required by law to stop for the officer or you could be charged and found guilty of a criminal offence.
This is more serious than an offence under the Traffic Safety Act of Alberta, as it shows up on background checks by employers, landlords, etc., and not just on your driving record.
The crime is detailed in the Criminal Code as “flight from peace officer”:
“Everyone commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel while being pursued by a peace officer and who fails, without reasonable excuse, to stop the motor vehicle or vessel as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.”
Peace officers include local Calgary Police Service officers as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Forces, customs officers, and others.
Often, a charge of failing to stop accompanies other criminal charges, such as dangerous driving, impaired driving or other serious criminal charges.
Penalties for Failing to Stop for Police
Failing to stop is considered a “hybrid” offence, whereby you can be prosecuted as a summary or indictable offence.
Punishments for a conviction vary based on how the prosecution proceeds in your case. It can result in a prison term of up to six months and/or a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000.
You will also receive seven demerit points on your licence from the Alberta Transportation Safety Board. For drivers who have accumulated demerit points already and for whom their vehicle is their sole means of getting around, a resulting licence suspension can be particularly damaging.
In reality, with an experienced lawyer like Cory Wilson supporting you, it is unlikely you would face prison time if this is the only offence you are charged with and you have no prior criminal history.
There are a number of defences that can be explored with Cory Wilson.
If aggravating factors are present, other charges may result and this can make your case more complex. These include:
- An injury or death resulting from your actions
- You were racing
- A child passenger under the age of 16 present in the vehicle
- You were working at the time
- Your driving was impaired
- You had no licence
A more serious charge of willfully avoiding police when an officer gives pursuit can be laid in more serious circumstances.
A conviction for willfully avoiding police can result in a fine of between $5,000 and $25,000 and a minimum imprisonment term of 14 days. In the most serious cases, you can be sentenced to six months’ prison time.
You will also have your licence suspended for five or ten years – or even for life if death or bodily harm resulted from your reckless actions on the road.
Bear in mind that the sentence you receive for failing to stop has both immediate and long-term consequences.
As well as the fines, potential loss of licence, and possibility of jail time, you may face difficulties when seeking employment or housing, with certain immigration matters, and with paying higher insurance premiums.
This is why it’s never a good idea to simply plead “guilty” in these cases without first discussing your options with a criminal defence lawyer.
Defences for Failing to Stop for Police
If you engage our team to defend you, after learning the facts of your case Cory Wilson will review the police file and begin working on your defence.
To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove four elements as follows:
- You were operating a vehicle
- You were pursued by law enforcement
- You were aware that you were being pursued, and
- You did not stop your vehicle as soon as was reasonably possible.
Failing to stop for police is a “strict liability” offence, so demonstrating that you were not aware that there were police trying to stop you may be a legitimate defence.
The most common defences for failing to stop are:
- Reasonable excuse: You had a good reason for failing to stop, such as a medical emergency.
- No knowledge: You did not know you were being pursued and asked to stop, due to poor weather or another reason.
- Violation of your constitutional rights: the police failed to abide by your rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Using defences such as these, Cory Wilson has helped many drivers in Calgary escape the harshest consequences of their actions.
We will aim not only to keep you out of jail but to get the case dismissed or for you to leave court without a criminal record or even a licence suspension.
Call Us To Arrange A Confidential Consultation
To speak with Cory Wilson or arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with Wilson Criminal Defence, call 403-978-6052 or email us here.