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The summer months are seeing an increase in police activity in New York City. Hundreds of additional police have been temporarily reassigned from administrative duties to patrol work in an operation that police refer to as the “Summer All Out Campaign.” The aim of the initiative is to saturate high-crime areas with additional officers to deter crime and to apprehend criminal suspects when necessary.

It follows that with so many additional police officers on duty -- more than 300 additional officers have been assigned -- traffic stops will increase. And as happens on occasion with traffic stops, sometimes what starts out as a moving violation that might warrant a traffic ticket, escalates into something more serious. 

This happened recently when officers tried to pull over a vehicle for driving on the wrong side of the road; but instead of complying with instructions, the driver elected to flee.

By the time the resulting car chase was over, the suspect vehicle and three other cars had been damaged, three police officers had been injured, and the driver who attempted to escape the traffic stop had been shot by police. Fortunately in this instance, none of the injuries appears to be life-threatening.

From the perspective of an attorney who might represent someone accused of a crime that begins with a traffic stop but becomes worse, it is never advisable to attempt to flee. The chances of successfully eluding a police pursuit are slim, and the risks of multiplying the charges that may be leveled against the driver -- including the possibility of causing injury or death to others -- are high. However, even those who make this decision have the right to defend themselves against charges. People make mistakes; but failing to protect yourself against charges and harsh penalties should not be one of them.

Source: NBC New York, "Suspect Trying to Escape Cops Shot by Officer in Brooklyn: Police," Ida Siegal, July 11, 2014

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