Eluding a Police Officer
(Colorado 18-9-116.5 and 42-4-1413 C.R.S.)

Colorado misdemeanor and felony (vehicular) eluding

The Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) contain two separate laws making it a crime for a Colorado driver to elude, or to try to elude, a police officer:

  • Misdemeanor eluding -- 42-4-1413, C.R.S., and
  • Felony eluding (also known as "vehicular eluding") -- 18-9-116.5, C.R.S.

To help you better understand Colorado's laws on eluding a police officer, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:

(See our related article about Colorado DUI checkpoints/ sobriety checkpoints.)

1. What is Colorado misdemeanor eluding?

Under 42-4-1413, C.R.S., Colorado eluding is a misdemeanor when:

  • An officer in a marked vehicle signals you to pull over, and
  • You willfully attempt to elude the officer by increasing your speed, extinguishing your lights or anything else.

2. What is Colorado felony eluding / vehicular eluding?

18-9-116.5, C.R.S. makes Colorado eluding a felony when:

  • You know (or reasonably should know) you are being pursued by an officer in a vehicle,
  • You elude or attempt to elude the officer, and
  • You drive in a reckless manner.

3. The difference between misdemeanor and felony eluding

For misdemeanor eluding to take place, the officer must be in a marked vehicle and signal you to pull over.

To be felony eluding, on the other hand:

  • The officer can be driving any kind of vehicle (whether marked or not),
  • The officer does not need to signal you, and
  • You must drive recklessly.

Misdemeanor eluding is NOT a lesser included offense of felony eluding. This means you can be charged with both misdemeanor and felony eluding for the same acts. This is not a violation of the Double Jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

However, reckless driving is a lesser included offense of felony eluding. If you are convicted of felony eluding, you cannot be separately convicted of reckless driving.

4. Colorado eluding penalties

4.1. Misdemeanor eluding

Misdemeanor eluding is a Colorado class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. Penalties for misdemeanor eluding can include:

  • 10-90 days in jail, and/or
  • A fine of $150-$300.

4.2. Felony eluding

Penalties for felony eluding depend on whether anyone was hurt as a result of your actions.

4.2.1. No one is hurt

If no one was hurt, eluding is a Colorado class 5 felony. Consequences can include:

  • 1-3 years in prision, and/or
  • A fine of $2,000-$100,000.

4.2.2. Someone is injured

If your eluding results in bodily injury to another person, it is a Colorado class 4 felony. Penalties can include:

  • 2-6 years prison, and/or
  • A fine of $4,000-$500,000.

4.2.3. Someone dies

If someone dies as a result of your evasion or attempted evasion, felony eluding is a Colorado class 2 felony. Consequences of Colorado felony eluding when someone dies can include:

  • 8-24 years in prison, and/or
  • A fine of $6,000-$1,000,000.

5. Defenses to Colorado eluding a police officer

5.1. Defenses to misdemeanor eluding

Common defenses to Colorado charges of misdemeanor eluding include (but are not limited to):

  • The officer had no reason to suspect you of a traffic violation,
  • The police vehicle wasn't marked,
  • The officer didn't signal you, and/or
  • You weren't willfully evading the officer.

5.2. Defenses to felony eluding

Common defenses to Colorado felony / vehicular eluding charges include (but are not limited to):

  • You didn't know (and had no reason to know) you were being pursued,
  • You weren't attempting to elude a police officer, and/or
  • You didn't drive recklessly.

Call us for help… 

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If you have been charged with eluding or attempting to elude a Colorado peace officer, we invite you to call us for a free consultation.

Our caring and experienced Colorado DUI lawyers are some of the best criminal defense lawyers in Denver and elsewhere in the state.

We know there are two sides to every story. It's our job and our honor to present yours in the best possible light.

To receive a prompt response from one of our skilled Colorado defense lawyers, use the form on this page. Or call us at our centrally located Denver office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330



In California? See our article on California eluding laws | Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC

In Nevada? See our article on Nevada eluding laws | NRS 484B.550.

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