Flight from Peace Officer

Flight from Peace Officer

The offence of flight from peace officer is outlined in section 320.17 of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of flight from a peace officer when they drive or exercise care or control over a motor vehicle or vessel while being pursued by a peace officer and they do not stop the motor vehicle or vessel within a reasonable time.

Examples

Person A is speeding on the highway in a Lamborghini they just stole when they suddenly hear police sirens and see a police cruiser directly behind them. Person A does not want to get caught in this stolen car, so they start swerving through traffic to try and lose the cruiser.

Person B just committed a crime and sees police approaching so person B gets into a boat and speeds away.

Person C is driving on the highway, speeding, when he sees a police car with its lights activated pull up behind him. Person C continues to drive, refusing to pull over.

Cases

R. v. Hernandez, 2021 ONCJ 252

In R. v. Hernandez, the accused was charged with one count of flight from a peace officer when he repeatedly chose to drive away from police officers attempting to stop him in different locations, as he had taken his five-year-old son from his mother contrary to their custody agreement.

R. v. Hadi, 2022 ONSC 2903

In R. v. Hadi, one of the four accused was charged with one count of flight from a peace officer when he drove away from the scene of a robbery in an attempt to evade arrest.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Reasonable Excuse

Where the person has a reasonable excuse for not stopping their motor vehicle or vessel within a reasonable time, they may not have completed the offence of flight from a peace officer. A reasonable excuse could include that there is nowhere safe to stop.

Not a Motor Vehicle or Vessel

Where the person is not driving or exercising care or control over a motor vehicle or vessel but instead is piloting an aircraft, for example, or riding a manual bicycle, they may not have completed the offence of flight from a peace officer.

No Knowledge  

Where the person has no knowledge or reason to believe that the motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment they are driving has been involved in an accident with another person or another person’s motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, they may not have completed the offence of failure to stop after an accident.

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