French Prison Escape Shows Fleeing and Eluding Leads to Charges, Especially In Florida

Redoine Faid’s escape from a French prison landed him on Interpol’s most wanted list, two days after he took four guards hostage and used explosives hidden inside tissue packets to blast his way out of a prison in Lille. This is not the first time that Faid has evaded or escaped police custody. Faid was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to the French media. Faid was freed after serving 10 years of his 31-year sentence, part of the sentencing involving the conviction of slaying a police officer. After being released, Faid swore he had turned his life around, writing a confessional book about his life of crime and going on an extensive media tour. On this most recent escape, Faid freed his hostages along his getaway route.

Most of Florida’s prisons and jails are not suitable to escape from and have adequate security to ensure that those who are meant to stay there, do so. However, what is common in Florida is the common practice of fleeing or evading police, either after being released on bond for a criminal charge, or evading the police while being pursued for the charge to actually be brought.

Typical of convictions for fleeing and evading police, the State will attempt to prove one drove in “willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others,” which elevates the charge to felony evading arrest. A three to ten year prison sentence is possible if one causes injury or death to another while evading arrest.

A conviction does require the prosecution to prove the following:

– That the police officer was pursuing one either in a marked police car, marked motorcycle or a bicycle,
– That One willfully fled or attempted to elude the police officer,
– That One had the specific intent to evade that officer,
– That the police car exhibited at least one red light visible from the front and sounded the car’s siren,
– That one saw or should have seen the red light on the police car, and
– That the officer was wearing a distinctive uniform.

One has many defenses to the crime of fleeing and eluding police. Marked police car do not necessarily have to be black and white, but they must always have a red lamp, a siren and logos, insignia or other characteristics that distinguish it from a civilian car. The officer merely having a red light and siren are not enough. A yellow or amber light is also not enough to show visibility of a police vehicle. If the “police car” had no logos or insignia displayed that made it look different than a normal car most people drive, the crime of fleeing and eluding simply cannot be proven.

Some law enforcement officers have abused, and continue to abuse this charge. Many cases arise in situations similar to the following, particularly with juvenile offenders: one is stopped while for a turn signal violation after turning into one’s neighborhood, going the normal speed limit. One acknowledges the officer behind one and signals the officer that one is stopping, but rather than pulling off unsafely on the shoulder with no real place to stop, one drives a few hundred feet to one’s driveway, maintaining a slow or normal speed. An officer might “construe” this action as fleeing and eluding police, rather than safe driving. Remember, these alleged “chases” are videotaped via dash cams. Many of these cases will be found frivolous and with the help of an experienced attorney, can be dismissed.

In Florida, an action as simple as walking away from a county work release program and coming back the next day or even in a couple of hours later counts as an escape, a 2nd degree felony. One automatically loses accrued gain time from one’s sentence and secondly, the sentence on the escape has to be served consecutively to the original sentence. If one is classified as a habitual offender, one may be exposed to a sentence of up to 30 years.
Many times, an accused party in a criminal prosecution will search one’s home, interview one’s family, and spread the word of one’s alleged criminal conduct, attempting to distill fear and coerce identifying testimony that will be used to convict one of a crime. However, one should not speak to the police or anyone else. The only person that one should confide anything in is one’s experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney, who will be fighting for one’s case and making sure that the legal system does not make the accused the victim.

The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Sources: Redoine Faid’s brazen escape and other notorious prison breaks, Lori Hinnant, Associated Press, Christian-Science Monitor

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