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Fleeing and Eluding

When alleged offenders are charged with failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer in addition to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio, the alleged eluding or fleeing of law enforcement can potentially result in even more serious penalties than just the driving under the influence (DUI) offense.

While failure to comply may be a misdemeanor offense in most cases, certain aggravating factors can make the alleged crime a felony.

Prosecutors will attempt to use alleged fleeing and eluding as evidence that alleged offenders panicked because they knew they were intoxicated. Oftentimes, there can be much more understandable explanations for a motorist’s failure to immediate stop. In some cases, the person will flee because of a suspended license or an outstanding warrant.

In some cases, drivers may have had justifiable personal safety concerns that prevented them from stopping as soon as possible. Occasionally, failure to stop can be based on reasonable doubts about authenticity because the vehicle was not marked or the officer was not in traditional uniform. Weather can also be to blame and sometimes people just simply did not see or hear any signals to stop.

Lawyer for Fleeing and Eluding in Ohio

Were you charged with failure to comply when you were arrested for OVI in Ohio? The Joslyn Law Firm represents clients throughout Cincinnati and many surrounding areas in Hamilton County, including Hamilton, Middletown, Norwood, Lebanon, and many more.

Cincinnati DUI attorney Brian Joslyn also represents clients in such surrounding communities as Fairfield in Clermont County, Butler in Butler County, and Mason in Franklin County. You can receive a complete review of your case as soon as you call (513) 339-6289 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Hamilton County Failure to Comply Information Center


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Fleeing and Eluding Charges in Ohio

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2921.331, it is a first-degree misdemeanor if an alleged offender fails to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer invested with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic or operates a motor vehicle so as willfully to elude or flee a police officer after receiving a visible or audible signal from a police officer to bring the person's motor vehicle to a stop.

Failure to comply becomes a fourth-degree felony if, in committing the offense, the alleged offender was fleeing immediately after the commission of a felony. The crime becomes a third-degree felony if:

  • The operation of the motor vehicle by the alleged offender was a proximate cause of serious physical harm to persons or property; or
  • The operation of the motor vehicle by the alleged offender caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property.

In third-degree felony cases of failure to comply, the court will consider all of the following factors:

  • The duration of the pursuit;
  • The distance of the pursuit;
  • The rate of speed at which the offender operated the motor vehicle during the pursuit;
  • Whether the offender failed to stop for traffic lights or stop signs during the pursuit;
  • The number of traffic lights or stop signs for which the offender failed to stop during the pursuit;
  • Whether the offender operated the motor vehicle during the pursuit without lighted lights during a time when lighted lights are required;
  • Whether the offender committed a moving violation during the pursuit;
  • The number of moving violations the offender committed during the pursuit; and
  • Any other relevant factors indicating that the offender's conduct is more serious than conduct normally constituting the offense.

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Failure to Comply Penalties in Cincinnati

An alleged offender can still be charged with fleeing and eluding even when an underlying OVI offense is dismissed. Failure to comply convictions not only result in six points being added to a motorist’s driving record, but they also lead to increased insurance rates.

Furthermore, fleeing and eluding will also trigger suspensions of driving privileges. Misdemeanor failure to comply can result in a suspension of between six months and three years, and felony convictions may lead to a person’s driver’s license being suspended for three years to life.

In addition to these penalties, a court could also issue one of the following sentences:

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000;
  • Fourth-Degree Felony — Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up $5,000; or
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and a fine of up $10,000.

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Ohio Resources for Fleeing and Eluding

The State Of Ohio v. McDonald | Supreme Court of Ohio — In November 2013, the highest court in Ohio reversed the judgments of the Fourth District Court of Appeals and the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas in a failure to comply with a police officer’s order or signal case that was lowered from a third-degree felony to a misdemeanor. In September 2010, a jury sentenced Scotty McDonald to four years in prison after finding him guilty of “failure to comply with order or signal of police officer and caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property.” McDonald appealed the decision because the verdict form did not indicate the degree of the alleged offense for which he had been found guilty or the factors that led to it being increased from a misdemeanor to a felony. Writing for the majority, Justice Paul E. Pfeifer referenced the Court’s 2007 opinion in State v. Pelfrey, in which the court ruled that when a guilty verdict does not state the degree of the offense of which the offender is found guilty or the additional element or elements that are present, then the guilty verdict constitutes a finding of guilty of the least degree of the offense charged.

State of Ohio | Police Cars — You can familiarize yourself with what law enforcement vehicles in specific jurisdictions in Ohio look like. You can view different cities, townships, county sheriffs, parks, colleges, universities, schools, and other police forces in Ohio. Pictures include several types of vehicles where applicable, including sedans, vans, motorcycles, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).


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Find a Failure to Comply Lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio

If you were charged with fleeing and eluding when you were arrested for DUI in Ohio, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation.

The Joslyn Law Firm defends clients accused of OVI and related offenses throughout the Cincinnati area and many surrounding communities such as Oxford in Clinton County, Marysville in Warren County, and Wilmington in Greene County.

Cincinnati criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn has been named one of Central Ohio’s Top Lawyers by Cincinnati CEO Magazine. Call (513) 339-6289 or submit an online form today to have him provide a thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.


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