The Friday night before Christmas, five men led police on a high-speed chase across freeways and surface streets before they abandoned the Kia Soul they were in and fled on foot. The men were wanted for the alleged armed robbery of a watch and clock repair shop in Old Town Pasadena.

Residents Glued to TV as Suspected Robbers Evade Police

Los Angeles residents were glued to their TVs on the Friday night before Christmas, watching a high-speed chase across the Los Angeles area.

Isiah Nichols, 20, was held in lieu of $50,000 bail; Emmanuel McNeal, 20, was held without bail; Rashi Treadwell, 25, was held in lieu of $150,000 bail; Hanif Washington, 19, was held in lieu of $1 million; and Jack Austin, 20, was held in lieu of at least $50,000 bail, according to inmate records from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The gunpoint robbery occurred at 4:20 p.m. Friday at Shant’s Clock and Watch Repair in Old Town Pasadena.

The suspects drove away, evading police and leading patrol cars on a high-speed chase. At times the suspects drove on the wrong side of streets, narrowly missing other vehicles before eventually pulling onto an off-ramp in East Hollywood.

That’s when the suspects abandoned the car and led police on a ground chase. The suspects could be seen fleeing through backyards, jumping fences, and climbing onto roofs – all the while being followed by helicopters.

As night fell, Police established a perimeter in the area where the suspects were last seen and brought in a K-9 unit and used air units to search for the suspects.

“Two dogs were deployed and there were two dog bites,” Pasadena Police Lt. Max Dahlstein told reporters. “There was an announcement by the helicopter. If a dog is going to be deployed, we let them know that a dog is going to be deployed. They had ample opportunity to come out from where they were. They made a decision to stay hidden.”
Shortly after, all suspects were taken into custody.

Evading Arrest

Evading arrest is a serious and punishable crime. California defines “evading arrest” as the act of attempting or actively running away from a police officer that has made clear his or her intentions to arrest you. Whether a suspect is fleeing by foot or by car, it is unlawful to evade a police officer’s right to arrest. While a law enforcement officer may believe that an individual is evading arrest, often times that might not be the intention of the suspect. In fact, sometimes a suspect is completely unaware that a police officer is in pursuit of them. When this is the case, the accusation of evading a police officer can get tricky.

Many factors influence the outcome of an evading the police charge. Questions that need to be answered include: Was the police officer in full uniform and the suspect was able to determine that the officer was an actual police officer at the time of the arrest? Were there language barriers that made the arrest attempt unclear to the suspect? In the case of a car chase, was the individual aware that police vehicles were trying to pull the individual over? Were the visual or audible signals coming from the police vehicles not understood by the person being pursued?

These questions must all be examined in your case. You’ll want to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney that has handled similar cases and can build your defense.

Charges You May Face

The gravity of the evading arrest charge will depend on other aspects of the incident. For example, if the individual was driving recklessly while evading the officer. If the individual is driving recklessly while fleeing a police officer, and while doing so, shows disregard for the safety of others and property, the individual may be charged with a more serious violation. Depending on the severity of the situation, the incident can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony.

To secure a conviction of a misdemeanor or felony, a prosecutor must prove:

  • The suspect had intent to purposely evade a police officer
  • The officer in pursuit was flashing at least one red light from the front
  • The suspect saw or should have seen the officer’s flashing lights
  • The officer’s vehicle was sounding a siren
  • The officer’s vehicle was distinctively marked as a police vehicle
  • The officer was wearing a distinctive police uniform

Evading arrest is typically classified as a misdemeanor in California. This is the case unless aggravating factors exist. In the presence of aggravating factors, a suspect could be charged with “felony reckless evading.” Penalties for misdemeanor evading arrest may include up to one year in county jail and $1,000 in fines. In some cases, the state of California could also have your vehicle impounded for up to 30 days.

Felony Reckless Evading

Felony charges can be brought if the crime of evading arrest has aggravating factors. According to California Vehicle Code, a suspect could be charged with “felony reckless evading” if he or she evades a police officer in a motor vehicle and, in doing so, drives with a willful disregard for the safety of others. Willful disregard is often judged on actions such as running red lights, failure to stop at stop signs, and paying attention to pedestrians.

Penalties for felony reckless evading can include:

  • Up to three years in state prison
  • Up to $10,000 in various fines
  • Impounded vehicle for 30 days

Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney

As you can see, being accused of a crime is a very serious matter, and should be handled accordingly. An experience criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on the best defense should you be accused of any number of crimes.

Our Practice

While we offer a full-service criminal defense practice, handling all charges, a large portion of our practice is engaged in defending those charge with murder (homicide) and other life sentence or death penalty cases including third strike allegations (under the California three strikes law). The rest of our practice regularly handles cases ranging from minor in possession, fake ID, driving under the influence (DUI) on up to domestic violence. Common felony charges handled in our office include, assault with a deadly weapon (ADW), sex offenses, arson, mayhem, armed robbery, (Estes Robbery). In addition, many of our clients have been accused of Auto Theft including Grand Theft Auto (GTA), and crimes alleging gang allegations, firearms allegation, and sneaking drugs or weapons into jails or prisons. Narcotics and drugs charges have been positively affected by proposition 47, but transportation, cultivation, manufacturing and sales remain frequent client matters in our office. An area of criminal defense that has become more active in recent years includes pimping, pandering and in particular human trafficking. Our office can handle your theft, credit card fraud, medical billing or worker’s compensation fraud, or any white collar criminal matter whether it is a felony or misdemeanor. We represent adults and juveniles in both state and federal courts on all criminal charges.

Working with a Defense Attorney

Once you and your attorney have discussed the specifics of the allegations that you are facing, you will be informed about the strengths and weaknesses of your case, including the risks of conviction and punishment that you face. A defense attorney will be able to negotiate a plea deal or decide to move forward with a trial, while constantly working to ensure your best interests.

The criminal defense lawyers at Daniel Perlman Law in Los Angeles will put our experience to work for you. We believe every defendant has the right to a zealous defense. We offer free initial consultations and will usually quote a flat fee that will cover all the services necessary for your case, including trial. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers, call 877-887-4541 or contact us by e-mail.

Any criminal charge could result in prison time, other serious penalties, and a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. The good news is that there is a defense to every charge or accusation. Contact our office in Los Angeles at 562-287-5333, at 562-287-5333 or by e-mail to discuss your case with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

Daniel R. Perlman, Esq.
Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman