Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC – Evading a Police Officer in a Vehicle

Have you recently received a piece of mail stating that you were guilty of violating Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC?  It can be scary to see this violation, but there’s a lot to know about it.  Below, you’ll learn all of the details you should know about this particular vehicle code violation, including:

What is Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC?

Let’s start with the formal legislative definition of a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation.  This reads, in part: “Any person who, while operating a motor vehicle and with the intent to evade, willfully flees or otherwise attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor…”.

If you strip away the legal speech, this definition is saying that it’s against the law to physically drive away from a peace officer in order to simply get away from them.  If you know that a peace officer is trying to pull you over, making any movement to leave or flee would mean you were guilty of this violation.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC?

As you can get from above, violating this offense means that you are knowingly trying to get out of the path of a police officer or peace officer that is deliberately trying to get your attention. One of the best ways to understand what this means is to take a look at it using an example!

Mason is a California driver who fails to stop at a stop sign. A peace officer has pulled into traffic behind him to get him to pull over, and Mason, fearful of getting a ticket, takes off instead.

In this case, Mason knows that he blew the stop sign and that the police officer is trying to pull him over for this offense. He takes off instead of pulling over, which would be a violation.  However, this violation can also happen even when you don’t know the reason why you are being pulled over.

Let’s say Mason pulls out of his driveway and starts to drive toward the supermarket.  Somewhere along the way, a peace officer roars up behind him and turns its lights on.  Mason doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, and he has nothing illegal in the car, so pulling over would be the right thing to do. But, Mason is a new driver and scared, so he steps on the gas instead and takes off.

Mason is knowingly driving away from the police in this situation, as well, even though he knows that he is supposed to pull over, though he may not know the actual reason why he is being pulled over.

In both these examples, Mason is failing to stop for a peace officer even though he knows that they are trying to get his attention and pull him over.  If, however, the police car didn’t flip his lights on and trailed along at a reasonable distance with no clear indication that something was the matter, this would be a different situation. In this case, Mason wasn’t aware that they were trying to get his attention and he isn’t trying to get away from them. This would also be the case if the car didn’t turn his lights on and the officer was in an unmarked car and not in uniform, since there would be no way for Mason to reasonably know that they were peace officers.

He also wouldn’t be considered guilty if he is not deliberately trying to evade. For example, if he pulls onto a street in order to complete a turn at the same time as the officer turns his lights on, he hasn’t done anything wrong. If the police car follows him through the turn, he can still pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, and there is no issue. Peace officers are required to make it clear that they are trying to pull over the driver in order to charge them with a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation.

Similarly, Mason wouldn’t be guilty of a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation if he is not able to pull over the vehicle. For instance, if Mason is being threatened by someone in the back seat, or is otherwise physically unable to pull the car over, this is considered something else entirely, since it is beyond his means to pull the car over, no matter how much he may want to.

What can I do about this violation?

If you get this violation, it’s considered a misdemeanor, which means that you can spend up to 12 months in county prison and receive a fine of up to $1, 000. Even though a misdemeanor is considered a minor offense, it is a serious offense. In order to get the best outcome, it’s important to plead guilty to the crime and accept the jail time and fine that is charged to you.

Did you receive a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation even though you had one of the circumstances in which you were forced to evade a peace officer, or you unknowingly were evading? You can dispute it in court with legal help, though you will need to be able to prove why you are innocent of the crime.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

There are possible connections that can be made between Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC and other similar codes.  Common ones include:

  • Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC: This violation is similar, but in this case, Mason would be evading a peace officer and also driving recklessly, possibly putting other drivers or other people’s property (including the peace officer) at risk.
  • Vehicle Code 2800.3 VC: This violation is also similar, and Mason would be evading the peace officer, and, in doing so, injure or even kill someone in the process (be it someone else in the car, a passer-by, or even the peace officer). The injury or death would have to be directly connected to evasion, of course.

In some cases, you might be charged with one or both of these instead of Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC, or in addition to it. It depends on the situation and what risks were present, as well as the outcome itself.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

You may be happy to learn that this ticket is eligible for traffic school.  Since this is a moving violation and you haven’t committed the violation of driving a commercial vehicle, and it’s been longer than 18 months since the date of your previous violation.

Going to a properly accredited traffic school, such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, can help your driving record by masking the citation and even remove points from your driving record.  Interested in learning more about how traffic school could be the right “course” for you to take after receiving this violation? Or, simply want more information on what to expect?  Please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out with any information you seek!

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation?

If you are a law-abiding driver, avoiding a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation is relatively simple, which can be a huge help. Let’s take a look at some of the best, helpful tips to keep you safe and sound.

Firstly, do whatever you can to keep yourself safe from getting pulled over in the first place.  Abide by all driving rules and try not to blow stop signs, make illegal turns, and other moving violations. This is the first step to not evading a peace officer, after all!

Secondly, if you do find that you have a police officer in your rearview mirror who is marked, has his lights on, and is deliberately trying to pull you over, make sure that you pull over.  If you know you blew a stop sign, pull over and face the consequences. If you don’t know why you are being pulled over, it could be something as simple as a burnt-out light, or just as a routine stop. Evading them is never going to be the better alternative.

Additionally, if you are unsure whether they’re trying to pull you over or not, it’s always better to assume that they are. After all, you legally have to pull over for peace officers whenever you see their emergency lights, anyway. If they are trying to pull you over, they will stop behind you. If not, they will continue on to whatever emergency they are on their way to attending.  Always remember: getting a Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC violation means that you are knowingly evading a peace officer in your car. If their lights aren’t on, the vehicle is unmarked, and/or they are not in uniform, there’s no way for you to possibly know what they are trying to do!  Therefore, the violation wouldn’t apply.



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