Fleeing Police in a Vehicle - License Revocation Consequences

Fleeing police in a vehicle is a felony offense, with varying levels of severity based upon the circumstances and result of the fleeing conduct. Possible prison, significant fines, and restitution are all serious consequences that are the primary focus of any defendant facing a fleeing police in a vehicle charge. But, a collateral consequence can be just as important for a big picture and full defense to this charge. And that collateral consequence is the license revocation stemming from a conviction. 

For a non-injury/death fleeing police in a vehicle conviction, the driver’s license will be revoked for one year on a first-time conviction and three-years for a second or more conviction. There is no window in which later offenses must occur within for the three-year revocation to kick in, unlike a DWI that has a ten-year look back period. If the fleeing police in a vehicle conviction was for substantial bodily harm caused to a victim, the revocation period becomes five years. It is seven years if the conviction is for a great bodily harm to a victim. And then it is ten years for death to a victim.

Losing driving privileges for one year, let alone ten years, is a huge issue for most people and a significant collateral consequence. The law permits a limited license to be issued once half of the revocation period lapses and the court grants an order permitting the limited license for the particular defendant. This means that the defendant has to serve at least half the revocation period and then bring a motion to the court arguing for why they need the limited license. Once it gets ordered, then the DMV will issue a limited license, which permits the defendant to drive to-and-from work and medical appointments during pre-determined times and days of the week. 

While this is technically the law, the North Star team made a creative argument that worked in getting the client’s limited license issued well-before the expiration of half of his revocation period. The limited license law requires a sixty-day waiting period for felony convictions involving a vehicle. In our client’s case, while he was convicted of fleeing police in a vehicle, he received a gross misdemeanor sentence, which means he did not have a felony conviction for it. When the DMV would not give him his limited license prior to the half-year running out, we went back to the County Attorney and Court, arguing that the waiting period should not apply because it was not a felony. They both agreed, leading to the Court issuing a letter clarifying it was a gross misdemeanor conviction and the DMV then issued the limited license immediately. This was a very unique case and included a receptive County Attorney and Judge to make it happen. But, the point is that sometimes, creative arguments can lead to even better results than anticipated if pursued the right way.

With a license revocation ranging from one- to ten-years depending on the circumstances for the conviction to a fleeing police in a vehicle charge, it is absolutely critical to have a criminal defense attorney that takes a big picture approach and understands all of the criminal and collateral consequences.