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If you are charged with Flight from Police there are a number of possible favourable resolutions to your situation. The result of your case will depend on the factual allegations and whether the Crown can prove all elements of the charge. We have defended and won for numerous clients facing a charge of Flight from Police over our 35 years of criminal defense experience.

Experience is not just the number of years of practice.

We have worked in almost every court house in the Province. We are familiar with the Judges and the Crown attorneys. Although every case is different, we have seen most everything.

Knowledge, reputation, experience – we have it

Initial Free Consultation

We are there to answer all your questions and provide advice as to how your defence should be conducted. Simply put we will give you the straight goods. Can you win and what will it cost. And there is no cost to see us. If the police are calling (in cases where the suspect escapes), you must speak to a lawyer before speaking to the police. They may have no evidence that you are the culprit.

We are available 24/7 – that is 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Even if the case looks strong there may still be a large number of alternative resolutions available for you. All is not lost. We can help.

Legal Fees and Payment Pans.

Nobody is expecting to pay a criminal lawyer. We get that. We offer payment plans to accommodate your financial situation. As far as legal fees are concerned we are not the dollar store of criminal lawyers. We provide value – a fair competitive price for quality service.

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Section 249.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada covers the Flight from Police charge.

Importance of the Right to Remain Silent with a Flight from Police Charge

Do not speak to the police without getting legal advice first.

In some cases, the driver of the motor vehicle manages to actually avoid being stopped.  The police stopped the pursuit or he/she has been able to lose them.  In these cases the driver should not talk to the police at all without first speaking to a lawyer.  In many of these cases the police do not know who the driver is and are just making an educated guess.

Just because the car belongs to you does not mean that you were the driver at the time of the chase.

Just because your spouse told the police that you had the car, or you have just come home does not mean you were the driver.

The police are permitted to lie to you to get an admission that assists them with the proof of their case.  For example, they may say that they have a witness that can identify the driver, or they have the driver on video.

We have had many clients avoid being charged altogether by speaking to us in advance.  Our client’s exercise their right to remain silent and we take over all contact with the police.

Essential elements that the Crown must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  • Identity of the driver of the motor vehicle
  • A pursuit by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle
  • Failure to stop in order to evade the police
  • That failure to stop was not as soon as was reasonable in the circumstances
  • If the above are proven the accused can provide evidence of a reasonable excuse to explain his/her actions 

Flight from Police causing bodily harm or death s. 249.1(3)

This section along with s. 249.1(4) creates a separate and more serious offence where bodily harm or death occurs as a result of the Flight from Police.

Penalties: Flight From Police s. 249.1(2)

  • If crown proceeds by summary conviction a fine of up to $5000.00 and/or, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months
  • If the Crown proceeds by way of indictment a fine and/or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years
  • Automatic minimum drivers licence suspension of 1 year pursuant to the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act
  • Possible court ordered driving prohibition
  • Possible probation
  • Criminal record
  • Insurance rate increase

Reducing Criminal Charge to a Traffic Offence.

We have defended many clients facing a charge under s. 249.1 of the Criminal Code and we have successfully negotiated resolutions whereby our clients have plead guilty to a charge under the Highway Traffic Act. In Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act has a similar offence of Failing to stop when signaled/requested by a police officer . s. 216(1) It is important that the resolution does not contemplate a plea to s. 216(3) of the Highway Traffic Act as the penalties under that section are far too severe.

Did I have to know that the police were pursuing me?

The simple answer is yes. In order to prove the charge, the Crown must show that you were attempting to evade the police. In order for that to be true you must be aware of the fact that the police were following you.

What is the legal basis that a police officer can pull me over?

The police are not entitled to make “arbitrary stops” on a whim. However, they do have significant powers under the Highway Traffic Act to pull a vehicle over. For example, an officer is entitled to pull some over just to determine if he/she is properly licenced, or to check ownership and insurance even when there has been no traffic violation whatsoever.

What if I just drove around the corner to my house?

If you are not trying to evade the police then you will be fine. If you were attempting to get to the sanctity of your home to avoid the police then you are in conflict with the law.

How close does the police officer need to be?

The question is not how close the police have to be but is the driver aware that he/she is being pursued. Obviously the further the police are from the vehicle they are pursuing the easier it is to present a defence that the driver was not aware that he was being pursued.

Does it matter how fast I was going?

Speed is not conclusive or necessary. Obviously a high rate of speed would support a finding that the driver was attempting to evade the pursuit. However, any evasive action such as making a number of turns to lose the police will also support a finding of guilt. Off road driving to evade a pursuit is not a defence. The key issue is the “evasion of a pursuit”.

The Police are calling me and want me to come in to make a statement. What should I do?

You should contact a lawyer immediately and you should exercise your right to remain silent. Often times the police cannot conclusively identify the driver that got away. See Importance of the Right to Remain Silent above.

Failing to stop when signaled/requested by a police officer s. 216(1) Highway Traffic Act

A police officer, in the lawful execution of their duties and responsibilities, may require the driver of a motor vehicle to stop. The driver of a motor vehicle, when signaled or requested to stop by a police officer who is readily identifiable as such, shall immediately come to a safe stop.

Penalties for a conviction under s. 216(1)

  • Fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $10,000.00 and/or
  • Imprisonment for a term of not more than 6 months
  • Possible probation (not mandatory)
  • 7 demerit  points
  • Possible suspension of drivers licence
  • Insurance rate increase

Escape by Flight s. 216(3) Highway Traffic Act

If the court makes a finding of guilt under s. 216(1) and is satisfied that on the evidence the accused continued to wilfully evade police after the office gave pursuit the accused will face more serious consequences.

Penalties for a conviction under s. 216(3)

  • A fine of not less than $5,000.00 and not more than $25,000.00, and
  • Imprisonment of not less than 14 days and not more than 6 months
  • 5 year licence suspension if no death results
  • 10 years licence suspension if a death results from the pursuit
  • Insurance rate increases

Fail to stop for police under the Highway Traffic Act is categorized as a “strict liability”offence.  Therefore if you can satisfy the court that you had a reasonable belief that you were not being pursued by the police then you would be found not guilty.

There are other defenses available as well, for example – necessity.