Willfully Evading Police Officers While DUI in California


CVC § 2800.1(a) prohibits evading a pursuing a police officer. It reads:

(a) Any person who, while operating a motor vehicle and with the intent to evade, willfully flees or otherwise attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor if all of the following conditions exist:

(1) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is exhibiting at least one lighted red lamp visible from the front and the person either sees or reasonably should have seen the lamp.

(2) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is sounding a siren as may be reasonably necessary.

(3) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is distinctively marked.

(4) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is operated by a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, and that peace officer is wearing a distinctive uniform.

Proof of a violation of CVC § 2800.2, felony reckless driving while evading a peace officer, always includes proof of a CVC § 2800.1 offense (People v. Springfield (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 1674). CVC §2800.2(b), defines for purposes of that section alone, “willful or wanton disregard of persons or property.” The definition includes, among other things, three or more violations that are assigned a traffic violation point count under Section 12810. These violations probably have to be pled and proved in a manner analogous to the procedure for pleading and proving the supporting offense in a CVC § 23153 case (see chapter 1). However, a violation of CVC § 2800.2 does not necessarily require the continuous use of lights and siren (People v. Copass (2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 37) or continuous following. See: People v. Pakes (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 125.

In People v. Dewey (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 216, the opinion held that fleeing a peace officer is a crime of moral turpitude; therefore making this an issue for those who hold a professional license.

In People v. Jones (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 663, the court held that felony evasion of a police officer, causing the death of a person, is not felony murder. However, note People v. Howard (2005) 34 Cal.4th 1129, in which the California Supreme Court held that CVC § 2800.2(b) greatly expanded the meaning of the quoted statutory phrase to include conduct that ordinarily would not be considered particularly dangerous.


While the charge of evading pursuant to CVC-2800 does not specifically relate to DUI; however, many DUI offenders will evade, even if just for a block or two. When evading is coupled with a DUI, DUI Evading, the potential penalties are increased exponentially.