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Failure to Stop for a Blue Light in South Carolina

Failure to Stop for a Blue Light in South Carolina

When you are being pulled over by the police, you are required to pull over to the side of the public road or highway and make a complete stop. But what if you fail to stop at all?

Failure to Stop for a Blue Light in SC

According to SC Code § 56-5-750(A):

“In the absence of mitigating circumstances, it is unlawful for a motor vehicle driver, while driving on a road, street, or highway of the State, to fail to stop when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle by means of a siren or flashing light. An attempt to increase the speed of a vehicle or in other manner avoid the pursuing law enforcement vehicle when signaled by a siren or flashing light is prima facie evidence of a violation of this section. Failure to see the flashing light or hear the siren does not excuse a failure to stop when the distance between the vehicles and other road conditions are such that it would be reasonable for a driver to hear or see the signals from the law enforcement vehicle.”

Simply put, if you notice the flashing blue lights and/or sirens blaring from a law enforcement vehicle behind you, you are required by South Carolina law to stop. Moreover, if you increase your speed after the police lights have been turned on, this act is considered a violation of this law.

Penalties for Failure to Stop for a Blue Light

A conviction for failure to stop for a blue light in South Carolina is generally a misdemeanor offense, punishable by imprisonment between 90 days and three years, a maximum fine of $500, and driver’s license suspension for at least 30 days. A second or subsequent offense is considered a felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and license suspension for at least one year.

However, if the offense involved someone suffering a great bodily injury, it is a felony that carries a maximum prison term to 10 years. If the offense involved a death, then a conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to 25 years. Both charges result in license revocation for three years after you serve your sentence.

Legal Defenses for Failure to Stop for a Blue Light

If you had good reasons for not stopping when you saw the blue light, you may avoid conviction if you can persuade the judge or jury – with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can examine your case and determine your available legal defenses to protect your rights and freedom.

One of the most common legal defenses for this offense is you or a passenger had an emergency. For example, if you were driving your wife to the hospital when she is in labor, or you are dealing with another type of medical emergency and headed to the hospital, these are considered mitigating circumstances.

Another common legal defense is that there was no safe place to pull over. Perhaps you were driving at night down an unlit roadway with no shoulder and the only thing visible was a gas station close by, which is why you decided to stop there.

If you have been arrested or cited for a traffic offense in Lexington or Columbia, call the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC at (803) 359-3301 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Serving clients throughout South Carolina since 2004!


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