2023 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representatives Bain, McKnight
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-9-72, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE PENALTIES FOR THE CRIME OF FLEEING FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT IN A MOTOR VEHICLE; TO PROVIDE THE FACTORS THAT A COURT SHALL CONSIDER WHEN DETERMINING WHETHER A POLICE WAS RECKLESS IN HIS OR HER PURSUIT OF A SUSPECT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-9-72, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-9-72. (1) The driver of a motor vehicle who is given a visible or audible signal by a law enforcement officer by hand, voice, emergency light or siren directing the driver to bring his motor vehicle to a stop when such signal is given by a law enforcement officer acting in the lawful performance of duty who has a reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver in question has committed a crime, and who willfully fails to obey such direction shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed six (6) months, or both.
(2) Any person who is guilty
of violating subsection (1) of this section by operating a motor vehicle in
such a manner as to indicate a reckless or willful disregard for the safety of
persons or property, or who so operates a motor vehicle in a manner manifesting
extreme indifference to the value of human life, shall be guilty of a felony,
and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Five Thousand
Dollars ($5,000.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections for not more than * * *
ten (10) years, or both.
(3) Any person who is guilty of violating subsection (1) of this section, which violation results in serious bodily injury of another, upon conviction, shall be committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than three (3) nor more than twenty (20) years of imprisonment.
(4) Any person who is guilty of violating subsection (1) of this section, which violation results in the death of another, upon conviction, shall be committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than five (5) nor more than forty (40) years.
(5) It is a defense to prosecution under this section:
(a) That the law enforcement officer was not in uniform or that no law enforcement vehicle used in the attempted stop was clearly marked as a law enforcement vehicle; or
(b) That the driver proceeded in a safe manner to a reasonably near well-lit public place before stopping.
(6) In determining whether a police was reckless in his or her pursuit of a suspect, a court shall consider the following factors:
(a) The length of the chase;
(b) The characteristics of the streets;
(c) The type of neighborhood;
(d) The seriousness of the suspect's offense;
(e) The experience and training of the officer;
(f) Whether the officer had available alternatives which would lead to the apprehension of the suspect besides the pursuit;
(g) The existence of police policy which prohibits pursuit under the circumstances;
(h) The presence of vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
(i) The weather conditions and visibility;
(j) Whether the officer proceeded with sirens and blue lights; and
(k) The rate of speed of the officer in comparison to the posted speed limit.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.