Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–2201.05b. Fleeing from a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Law enforcement officer” means a sworn member of the Metropolitan Police Department or a sworn member of any other police force operating in the District of Columbia.

(2) “Signal” means a communication made by hand, voice, or the use of emergency lights, sirens, or other visual or aural devices.

(b)(1) An operator of a motor vehicle who knowingly fails or refuses to bring the motor vehicle to an immediate stop, or who flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer, following a law enforcement officer’s signal to bring the motor vehicle to a stop, shall be fined not more than not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or imprisoned for not more than 180 days, or both.

(2) An operator of a motor vehicle who violates paragraph (1) of this subsection and while doing so drives the motor vehicle in a manner that would constitute reckless driving under § 50-2201.04(b), or causes property damage or bodily injury, shall be fined not more than not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.

(c) It is an affirmative defense under this section if the defendant can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the failure to stop immediately was based upon a reasonable belief that the defendant’s personal safety is at risk. In determining whether the defendant has met this burden, the court may consider the following factors:

(1) The time and location of the event;

(2) Whether the law enforcement officer was in a vehicle clearly identifiable by its markings, or if unmarked, was occupied by a law enforcement officer in uniform or displaying a badge or other sign of authority;

(3) The defendant’s conduct while being followed by the law enforcement officer;

(4) Whether the defendant stopped at the first available reasonably lighted or populated area; and

(5) Any other factor the court considers relevant.

(d)(1) The Mayor or his designee, pursuant to § 50-1403.01, may suspend the operating permit of a person convicted under subsection (b)(1) of this section for a period of not more than 180 days and may suspend the operating permit of a person convicted under subsection (b)(2) of this section for a period of not more than 1 year.

(2) A suspension of an operator’s permit under paragraph (1) of this subsection for a person who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a violation of subsection (b)(1) or (2) of this section shall begin following the person’s release from incarceration.

(e) Prosecution for violations under this section shall be conducted in the name of the District of Columbia by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, or his or her assistants, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.


(Mar. 3, 1925, ch. 443, § 10b; as added Mar. 16, 2005, D.C. Law 15-239, § 2(b), 51 DCR 9600; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-266, § 102(f), 59 DCR 12957; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 271(c), 60 DCR 2064.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-266 substituted “$12,500” for “$5,000” in (b)(2).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $1,000” in (b)(1), and for “not more than $5,000 [$12,500]” in (b)(2).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of the Fleeing Law Enforcement Prohibition Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-495, July 19, 2004, 51 DCR 7841).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of Fleeing Law Enforcement Prohibition Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-546, October 12, 2004, 51 DCR 9842).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 2 of Fleeing Law Enforcement Prohibition Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-726, January 13, 2005, 52 DCR 1950).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 102(f) of Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-429, July 30, 2012, 59 DCR 9387).

For temporary (90 day) addition of sections, see § 102(g) of Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-429, July 30, 2012, 59 DCR 9387).

For temporary amendment of (b)(2), see § 102(f) of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-508, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12774).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 102(f) of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-3, January 29, 2013, 60 DCR 2762, 20 DCSTAT 410).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 271(c) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 102(f) of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-51, April 17, 2013, 60 DCR 6344, 20 DCSTAT 1360).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.