Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC – Evading a Peace Officer by Driving in the Opposite Direction of Traffic

Have you recently received a ticket, letting you know that you are guilty of violating Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC?  If so, you might be looking for some of the critical information to let you know what it is, what to expect, and, of course, what to do about it!  Below, you’ll learn about all of the important information for this violation, including the following:

What is Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC?

Let’s start off the legislative definition of this violation, and go from there.  California legislation defines this violation as: “Whenever a person willfully flees or attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer in violation of Section 2800.1, and the person operating the pursued vehicle willfully drives that vehicle on a highway in a direction opposite to that in which the traffic lawfully moves upon that highway…”.

That’s a lot of formal language, right?  Simply, receiving this violation means that you are knowingly trying to get away from a police officer who is actively trying to get you to pull over, and, in doing so, you are driving down the street the wrong way.  

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC?

One of the most important details to keep in mind when receiving a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation is that this offense isn’t just related to evading the police (which is a different offense in and of itself).  With this particular offense, you are also disrupting the traffic by deliberately driving the wrong way down the street.  To make that a little clearer, let’s put an imaginary California driver, Caleb, in the situation.

Caleb isn’t paying attention at the wheel and pulls out to pass someone in a no-passing zone.  Once he overtakes the car, a police officer nearby pulls into traffic directly behind Caleb with his lights on.

Caleb is worried about his two prior driving tickets, so he starts to drive faster, trying to shake the police officer.  At a stop sign, he turns onto a street and drives on the wrong side of the road, weaving around other cars that are driving the correct way.  He does this to try to lose the police officer and protect himself from getting a ticket.

In this particular situation, the reason that Caleb is guilty of a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation is that he is not only trying to get away from a peace officer that is asking him to pull over, but he is also driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic to do so.  This puts the other drivers, Caleb, the police officer, and everyone’s property (cars) at risk.  Not to mention, it can cause other accidents, too, because he is driving the wrong way and other cars have to avoid him!

In order to be considered guilty of this violation, the peace officer must make him aware that they are trying to pull him over.  This can be in a marked or unmarked car with lights on that are clear for Caleb to see.  The police officer should also be in uniform so that Caleb knows it’s a peace officer and not something out playing a trick.  If Caleb doesn’t see any of these things (there are no lights and no uniform, for instance), he has no reason to believe he’s being pulled over.

Another detail for this violation is that Caleb has to be trying to shake off the police officer by driving into oncoming traffic.  If he simply starts driving through intersections or through neighborhoods, this technically wouldn’t be considered a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC, which relates only to driving into oncoming traffic.

What can I do about this violation?

There are two ways that this violation can go, depending on how the ticket is cited.  The first is a misdemeanor, which means that you can spend up to 12 months in a county prison and be charged a fine of up to $1, 000.

The second way is a felony.  In this case, you could possibly see up to 3 years in a California state prison and be charged a fine of up to $10, 000.  This would be a worse conviction than a misdemeanor, which is why it carries a heavier sentence in jail time and in a larger fine.

In many cases, as with similar violations (more on that in a minute), the driver may also have their license suspended since you are knowingly driving the wrong way down a street to evade the police  The amount of time your license is suspended varies depending on any prior tickets as well as your amount of time as a licensed driver.  This is also often combined with an impoundment of the vehicle you used to commit the Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation, too.

If you are guilty of this violation, you should say so formally at your hearing and accept the punishment that the court gives to you.  If you know you are innocent, however, you do have the right to an attorney in order to prove this case.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

As you may already know, there are similar violations to the Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC that can also be applied to your license, depending on what the situation is.  These can include:

  • Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC: In this case, Caleb is simply trying to dodge the peace officers.  He wouldn’t be driving into oncoming traffic in this case or putting anyone at risk.
  • Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC: For this violation, Caleb would be deliberately putting other drivers and their property at risk, perhaps weaving around them or cutting close to parked cars and damaging them.
  • Vehicle Code 2800.3 VC: This violation means that Caleb’s dangerous driving into oncoming traffic  is directly responsible for the injury and/or death of someone.  This could be a passenger in his car, someone else in the oncoming lane, or even the peace officer.
  • Vehicle Code 23103 VC: This violation is considered a bit more general and means that Caleb is deliberately driving recklessly.  There isn’t necessarily an evasion connection to this one.

A lot of these sound pretty similar and interchangeable, which they are in many cases.  You could be charged with both a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC and a Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC  violation because they’re closely linked.  In some cases, one or more of these charges could be applied in place of a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation if the court thinks they’re more appropriate.  

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

You will most likely be relieved to learn that yes, this ticket is eligible for traffic school in most cases.  As long as you haven’t committed this violation in a commercial vehicle, and it’s been longer than 18 months since your previous use of traffic school due to a prior violation.

It’s important that you go to an accredited traffic school, such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, as not all traffic schools are registered and will not earn you the same masking benefits or general re-education.

If you’re interested in learning more about how attending traffic school can help mask your ticket on your driving record, and make you a better driver, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have, as well as offer more information if you require it.  Alternatively, you can also get in contact with the court that issued your ticket, as they will be more familiar with your specific case.

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation?

Because of its potential for a felony charge, avoiding a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation is going to be very important to your driving record.  Not to mention that safe driving is always the goal!  Here are some tips on how to keep yourself safe.

One of the best ways to avoid a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC is to take the potential out as much as possible.  Always follow all of the traffic laws, no matter how frustrating it is, or how “safe” it may seem to break them.  Don’t pass illegally, don’t blow stop signs or speed.  Being a law-abiding driver is step number one, always!  A police officer won’t have a need to pull you over if you don’t break the law, usually.

Sometimes, though, there may be a problem that you aren’t aware of.  For instance, a blown-out taillight or perhaps an issue with your registration.  Or, once in a while, a peace officer will pull you over just for a routine check.  There are many “good” reasons why a police officer may be trying to pull you over, so don’t assume that you are in the wrong!  

If you notice that there is a police officer on your tail with his lights on, stay calm.  Don’t panic and try to zoom off, pretending you didn’t see them.  As soon as you can do it safely, make sure that you pull over and stop your vehicle fully.  Don’t try to dodge them by driving through oncoming traffic, as it puts other people at risk, too.  Even if you are scared and are worried that you’ll get in trouble, remember that a police officer is, well, an officer of the law.  You must obey them and deliberately disobeying them will never, ever be the better alternative.

Then there’s the point of the peace officer trying to pull you over.  Anytime you see an emergency vehicle with lights on behind you, you should pull over immediately.  Even if you aren’t sure if it’s for you or the car behind you, or if they’re going on ahead of you to an emergency, always pull over.  Then there’s the fact that pulling over for emergency vehicles is the law, anyway!  Remember: if you are guilty of a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC means that you are knowingly evading the police and doing so by driving into oncoming traffic.  If you don’t know you’re evading, or you aren’t driving into oncoming traffic, you can’t be considered guilty of a Vehicle Code 2800.4 VC violation.



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