Evading Arrest or Detention in Texas By Jason Trumpler, P.C. on September 21, 2016

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Evading Arrest or Detention can be found in Texas Penal Code § 38.04. Evading Arrest or Detention is a pretty straight forward offense. A person commits the crime of Evading Arrest or Detention when he or she:

  1. Intentionally flees from a person;
  2. He or she knows to be a peace officer;
  3. Is attempting to arrest or detain him or her lawfully.
Evading Arrest or Detention on foot is a Class A Misdemeanor. The punishment range for a Class A Misdemeanor is:
  • Up to One Year in the County Jail; and,
  • Fine Up to $10,000.

Evading Arrest or Detention is a State Jail Felony if the person evades by foot and has a prior conviction. The punishment range for a State Jail Felony is:

  • Six Months to Two Years in the State Jail, Day for Day, and,
  • Fine Up to $10,000.

Evading Arrest or Detention is a 3rd-Degree Felony if the person flees while in a vehicle. (Though the prosecutors can still charge it as a State Jail Felony, they rarely do.) The punishment range for a 3rd-Degree Felony is:

  • Two to Ten Years in the Texas Department of Corrections Institutional Division; and,
  • Fine Up to $10,000.

It is a 2nd-Degree Felony if someone dies as a result of the evading. The range of punishment for a 2nd-Degree Felony is:

  • Two to Twenty Years in The Texas Department of Corrections Institutional Division; and,
  • Fine Up to $20,000.
We have seen a considerable spike in this crime in the last several years, particularly in areas near Fort Hood. A lot of folks in the military are committing this offense on motorcycles. I am not clear why there is a huge spike, though it appears to be attributable to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I have represented over a dozen soldiers in the last several years for this offense in Bell and Williamson counties.
The most common successful reductions for Evading Arrest or Detention we get short of a straight dismissal are Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officer and Reckless Driving. Both of these offenses are Class B Misdemeanors. The range of punishment for a Class B Misdemeanor is:
  • Up to 180 Days in the County Jail; and,
  • Fine Up to $2,000.
A person commits the offense of Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer if the person operates a motor vehicle and willfully fails or refuses to bring the vehicle to a stop or flees, or attempts to elude, a pursuing police vehicle when given a visual or audio signal to bring the vehicle to a halt.
As mentioned above, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer is a Class B Misdemeanor. This outcome is far better than the 3rd-Degree Felony that Evading Arrest or Detention in a motor vehicle is. If a person commits the offense of Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer while intoxicated, the crime is enhanced to a Class A Misdemeanor. The range of punishment for a Class A Misdemeanor is:
  • Up to One Year in the County Jail; and,
  • Fine Up to $4,000.
The Texas Transportation Code defines Reckless driving as driving a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. While technically a Class B Misdemeanor, the punishment range for Reckless Driving is:
  • Up to Only 30 Days in the County Jail; and,
  • Fine of Only Up to $200.
While it is possible to get an Evading Arrest or Detention reduced to the above-referenced misdemeanors or dismissed, it is going to depend on your specific circumstances. During plea negotiations, the prosecutor is going to watch the video. Things the prosecutor will take into consideration during negotiations:
  • How long the evading lasted in both terms of distance and time?
  • What were the speeds involved?
  • On what roads did evade took place?
  • What were the road conditions?
  • Did the evading take place in a residential area or on the freeway?
  • What were traffic conditions like when the evade took place?
  • How many officers were involved in the pursuit?
  • How many traffic offenses did you commit during the evading?
  • Did law enforcement have to use a strip spike to end the pursuit?

The longer, the more dangerous the evading, the less likely the prosecutor will reduce or dismiss the charge.

Contact Us at 512-457-5200

Jason Trumpler is an experienced criminal defense attorney with 20-years of experience. He has successfully won or otherwise gotten cases thousand of cases dismissed. He practices in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bell, Comal, Bastrop, Burnet, and Lee counties. Contact our offices today at 512-457-5200.

Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Trumpler can also help if the State has charged you or someone you know with any other type of criminal offense, including, but not limited to:

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Jason Trumpler

The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler

Jason Trumpler has handled thousands of criminal cases over nearly 20 years. He is a current or past member of several national, state, and local legal associations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • Austin Bar Association
  • Williamson County Bar Association
  • National College for DUI Defense®
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • DUI Defense Lawyers Association

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