Flight from Police

Frequently Asked Questions: Flight From Police

What is a Flight from Police charge?
What should you say to the police if they ask for a statement?
Does the police have the right to pull you over?
Highway Traffic Act

What is a Flight from Police charge?

The charge of flight from police is met when operating a motor vehicle while being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle, and failing, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.  Please note that a lawyer could reduce this criminal charge to a Highway Traffic Act charge as well.

What should you say to the police if they ask for a statement?

In order for this charge to be made out, it is essential that the Crown also prove the identity of the driver. This is where your right to remain silence plays a crucial role. If you avoid the police during a chase or are investigated for this charge, you should call a lawyer. Do not give a statement. The police is allowed to lie to you about evidence they have against you. It is possible to avoid a charge if you speak to a lawyer. Roxana Soica is one free phone call away: 416.723.6497.

Does the police have the right to pull you over?

The police has wide powers when it comes to stopping motor vehicles. The stop must not be unlawful but R.I.D.E. programs or stopping to check for your driver’s licence, insurance, and registration when you did not do anything wrong, is legal nonetheless. It is difficult for you to determine on your own whether the police is entitled to stop you. In fact, this is difficult for a court to determine as well.

Clients choose to drive away from the police because they have something in the car that they do not want the police to see. You should discuss your reasons with a lawyer.


The maximum imprisonment time is five years. However, a lawyer can convince the Crown to proceed by way of summary election, meaning that jail time can be avoided or, for the very least, avoid otherwise severe impact on your life, as it would be a maximum of six months imprisonment. Driving prohibition and other court orders specific to your case will be imposed.

If the flight causes bodily harm or death, this is a more serious charge resulting in:

    • (a) if bodily harm was caused, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years; and
    • (b) if death was caused, liable to imprisonment for life.

Highway Traffic Act (s 216 (1))

A reduction of the charge from a criminal one to a provincial one will reduce the maximum term of imprisonment to six month and/or a minimum fine of $1,000.00 but not more than $10,000.00 (s 216 (2)).

However,  care must be taken in converting the criminal charge into a a provincial charge under s 216 (3), which can result in serious minimums that the criminal charge does not have:

  • minimum $5,000.00 fine and maximum of $25,000.00 fine
  • minimum imprisonment of 14 days and maximum 6 months
  • suspension of driver’s licence for 5 years
  • suspension of driver’s licence for 10 years at least if the court is satisfied that the person’s conduct resulted in the death or bodily harm to any person.