Say you're excessively speeding down a divided highway when a police cruiser passes you on the other side of the median and flips on the lights and sirens. Now of course you assume this is a result of your speeding but of course you can't be sure they could be trying to get to another scene down the road.

So now you realize if the cop is coming for you it will take a full 30 seconds to get to the nearest turn around and back to you, it will also for whatever brief margin put you out of view. Would it be illegal to then pull off and park behind a building in a fairly obvious attempt to hide from the police? What if in a less obvious way you just turn down a side road and keep heading that way would that be evading the officer?

  • 2
    I added a US tag and a "lights on" bit to the title...let me know if you disagree
    – Pat W.
    May 18, 2016 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


This varies from state to state. Here's a representative statute:

Any driver or operator of a motor vehicle who, having been given a visual or audible signal by a peace officer directing such driver or operator to bring his vehicle to a stop, willfully fails or refuses to obey such direction, increases his speed, extinguishes his lights, or otherwise flees or attempts to elude the officer. See 625 ILCS 5/11-204.

For a first offense, IL calls it a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year and $2.5K. but on the third offense it becomes a felony punishable by up to 3 years and a $25K fine.

If the signal was meant for you, then the divided highway is a moot point so long as you realize it was for you (which might be established by you turning off the road into some neighborhood where you have no business).

  • Ok that makes sense, so it would come down to if it could be proven you knew it was for you? Which common sense could just be applied to like you hiding behind a dumpster. I wonder how concrete that evidence must be like I have a camera in my car I could just say I was looking for good shoot and now I can say I have business in any neighborhood. But I don't think any answer can tell me that specifically so +1
    – DasBeasto
    May 18, 2016 at 12:00
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    @DasBeasto I think it would ultimately be up to the trier of fact to decide.
    – phoog
    May 18, 2016 at 12:26
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    But are the lights and sirens of a police car, on the opposite side of a divided highway, a "visual or audible signal... directing [me] to stop"? I think not, at least in those states in which vehicles on a divided highway are not normally required to stop for emergency vehicles on the opposite side of the highway. Jul 18, 2016 at 14:38

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