In order to convict you of a crime, the prosecution must prove that all of the elements of the crime were met. If just one of the elements of the crime for which you are accused is not met, then you cannot be convicted of that crime.
So what happens if you are convicted of a crime when not all of the elements of the crime had been proven? A recent case proves that you should not stop fighting if you have been convicted of a crime. You have a chance to appeal your conviction, and an appeals attorney may be able to review your case and find winning appellate issues.
Elements of Evading the Police (VC 2800.2)
Under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2, anyone who “flees or attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer” and is driving in “willful or wanton disregard for the safety” of others is guilty of the crime of evading the police.
In order to convict you of this crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all of the following elements were true in your case:
- The peace officer had his or her vehicle’s lights on to indicate to you to pull over
- You saw or reasonably should have seen the vehicle’s lights
- The peace officer sounded a siren as may be reasonably necessary
- The peace officer’s vehicle was distinctively marked
- The peace officer’s vehicle was operated by a peace officer, AND
- The peace officer operating the vehicle was wearing a distinctive uniform
You cannot be convicted of evading the police unless all of the above are true in your case.
What Happens When Only a Few of the Elements of a Crime are Proven?
In The People vs. Dywon Levell Byrd (2016 DJDAR 7772), the defendant was convicted of evading the police under VC 2800.2.
During his trial, officers testified that they were on patrol in a traditional marked black and white police car and the siren and red and blue lights were activated when pursuing the defendant. In fact, the defendant himself admitted he saw the patrol car behind him with its lights on and made a conscious decision to flee from the police.
This means that most of the elements of the crime were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which was why the defendant was convicted. However, the defendant appealed his conviction.
On appeal, the defendant’s appellate attorney showed that there was one glaring mistake made when convicting the defendant of evading the police. It was widely assumed – and probably true – that the officers in his case were wearing distinctive police uniforms. However, no evidence had been presented to prove this.
Prosecutors argued that a jury could have reasonably inferred that the officers wore a distinctive uniform because they were on patrol in a marked police vehicle at the time of the pursuit, and the defendant knew he was being chased by police. However, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction for evading the police because all of the elements of the crime were not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
An Experienced Appeals Attorney Can Help You Now
With this ruling, the Court of Appeals showed that it demands that every element of a crime be proven before a person can be found guilty of a crime. The appellate attorney in this case was able to show that the prosecution failed to do so, and the defendant had his conviction reversed. That is why you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to fight for you if you have been accused of a crime or if you wish to appeal your conviction.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled lawyers have been successfully helping our clients in appeals matters for more than 35 years. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance and San Diego, one of our knowledgeable appeals attorneys is available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.