Evading Arrest or Detention in a Motor Vehicle in Austin, Texas (2023)

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When the police initiate a traffic stop, a motorist is obligated to pull over at the nearest safe location. However, sometimes the driver does not notice or recognize the police right away. The traffic, road, weather, or condition of the driver’s vehicle may preclude an immediate stop. The driver may be ill or injured or have other reasons for a delay.

The subjective nature of how much time and distance are required to constitute a “delay” can be debated. Needless to say, the police do not like to be ignored, and any delay in making a stop could be perceived by the police as an attempt to evade arrest or detention.

No matter what the initial reason was for a traffic stop, Texas law provides for enhanced charges and penalties if a person is convicted of evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle. This crime is classified as a felony offense.

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The same law and penalties also apply to boaters or operators of “watercrafts.”

If you were charged with evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle or vessel in Austin, Texas or anywhere else in Travis County, you should consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to review your case.

A qualified lawyer may be able to find flaws with the initial traffic stop or find inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, which could lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Austin Lawyer for Evading Arrest Charges

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett is equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to defend people charged with evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle in the greater Austin area. Kevin Bennett is a dedicated criminal defense attorney in Travis County who will work tirelessly to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your case, which often means avoiding a trial and negotiating a reduction or a dismissal of criminal charges.

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This does not mean that The Law Office of Kevin Bennett is not willing to take a case to trial if necessary to fight against a conviction, as our firm will always uphold the most favorable interests of its clients. When representing you, Kevin Bennett believes in being completely transparent so that you are aware of every single detail pertaining to your case.

You can be sure that you will receive incredibly personal attention throughout your case because The Law Office of Kevin Bennett limits the number of clients our Austin attorney will represent. Call (512) 476-4626 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of Evading Arrest in Travis County

  • How are people charged with this crime?
  • What issues does a lawyer address when investigating these types of cases?
  • Where can I get more information about evading arrest?

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Texas Charges for Evading Arrest or Detention in a Motor Vehicle

According to Title 10, Section 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of evading arrest or detention if he or she “intentionally flees from a person he (or she) knows is a peace officer or federal special investigator attempting lawfully to arrest or detain him” or her.

Running away from the police on foot is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor in Texas, but if the accused “uses a vehicle or watercraft while … in flight,” the offense is a state jail felony, which is essentially a fourth-degree felony punishable by between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

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A second conviction for evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle is a third-degree felony, which may result in two to 10 years in jail along with a fine of up to $10,000. Using a gun, or injuring or killing someone else, while evading arrest or detention may result in even greater punishment.

The purpose of enhancements to the law for evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle is to protect law enforcement officers and the public from potentially deadly weapons such as vehicles or vessels under the control of the person being pursued.

Anyone accused of evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle may also face additional criminal charges for whatever the reason was for the initial traffic stop.

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Defending a Charge of Evading Arrest in a Motor Vehicle in Austin, Texas

An experienced criminal defense attorney has many tools available to mount a strong defense against a charge of evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle. Many questions must be asked and answered to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

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Some of the questions a defense attorney might ask are:

  • Did police have probable cause or reasonable suspicion of the commission of a crime before the traffic stop occurred?
  • How did the police attempt to notify the driver of the traffic stop (lights, siren, hand gesture, verbally, etc.)?
  • How much time elapsed between when the driver first noticed the police and when the driver pulled over and stopped?
  • How much distance was covered between when the driver first noticed the police and when the driver pulled over and stopped?
  • What was the speed of any pursuit by the police?
  • What were the traffic, road and weather conditions at the time of the traffic stop?
  • Did the condition of the driver’s vehicle cause any kind of delay in making a stop?
  • Was the driver aware of any traffic violations that may have initially alerted the police?
  • Did the police provide a reason for initiating the stop?
  • What was the mental and physical condition of the driver at the time of the stop?
  • Is there a video or audio recording of the time between engagement by the police and the traffic stop?
  • Is there a video or audio recording of the traffic stop?
  • What did the police say during the traffic stop?
  • Were there any other witnesses to the incident, before or during the traffic stop?
  • What evidence was collected at the scene?
  • Did the police issue a proper Miranda warning upon arrest?
  • What, if anything, did the driver say during the stop?
  • What other criminal or traffic charges were filed against the driver?

Any mistakes by the police or procedural errors identified by a defense attorney could damage the prosecution’s case, making it more likely that the state may offer a plea bargain for a charge less than evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle. If major mistakes or errors occurred, a complete dismissal of the case is a possibility.

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Additional Resources

Texas Constitution and Statutes — Penal Code — Chapter 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code enumerates the laws related to evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle and the penalties for conviction.

Find an Attorney for Evading Arrest in a Motor Vehicle in Austin, Texas

If you were arrested for evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle or boat in the greater Austin area, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away to schedule a consultation.

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The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents clients in Austin, Bee Cave, Sunset Valley, West Lake Hills, and many other surrounding areas of Travis County. Kevin Bennett is a lawyer experienced in representing criminal traffic cases and he will thoroughly review your case and help you decide what to do next.

Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 if you have been arrested for evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle or vessel. Your initial consultation is free, and it will begin the process of defending your freedom.


What is the sentence for evading arrest in Texas? ›

What is the Punishment for Evading Arrest in a Vehicle? Evading Arrest in a Vehicle is a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Can evading arrest be dismissed in Texas? ›

Evading arrest cases are frequently dismissed in the Greater Houston area for several reasons. One of the main reasons they are dismissed is when the prosecutors don't think that the evidence proves that a person intended to flee from police.

Is evading arrest detention a felony in Texas? ›

Evading Arrest or Detention in Texas: the Law

If you had a prior conviction, then it is a third degree felony, but if it's your first conviction of evading police while in a motor vehicle, it is a fourth degree felony. A third degree felony could result in a two to 10 years in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

What is the meaning of evading arrest? ›

: to avoid being captured/arrested. They have evaded capture/arrest so far.

What is the maximum sentence for evading police? ›

Penalties under California Vehicle Code § 2800.1

As a misdemeanor, evading an officer carries a possible sentence of up to one (1) year in county jail as well as a fine of up to $1,000.00 dollars. Additionally, the vehicle that was being driven may be impounded for up to thirty days.

How much is a bond for evading arrest in Texas? ›

Evading usually isn't considered a morally wrong offense or involves a victim. A bail bond amount for this charge will be closer to $3,000-$5,000. It is enhanced to a state jail felony when previously convicted or when evading in a vehicle, putting it closer to an $8,000 bail bond amount.

On what grounds can a case be dismissed Texas? ›

Likewise, a judge can dismiss the case if they find no legal basis for the charge, if the defendant's rights have been violated, or if the state has failed to prove its case. Judges can dismiss a case either on their own motion or on the motion of the defendant.

How much time do you get for resisting arrest in Texas? ›

If you are convicted on resisting arrest charges in Texas, you face penalties for a Class A misdemeanor, including a prison sentence of up to 12 months in county jail. You could also be charged a possible fine of up to $4,000.

Can you resist arrest in Texas? ›

Texas has established strict laws for people who attempt to escape arrest. Resisting arrest in Texas is a misdemeanor and can be elevated to felony charges. You could be facing severe penalties such as expensive fines and possible jail or prison time.

Is Texas a mandatory arrest state? ›

Although Texas does not have a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence calls, there are some things you should know. In Texas, three different crimes of domestic violence are recognized: Domestic assault: Causing or threatening bodily injury against a family or household member.

Is running from the cops a felony in Texas? ›

Generally, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. According to Texas Penal Code § 12.22, an individual convicted of a Class B misdemeanor offense faces a maximum penalty of 180 days in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Are detention officers considered law enforcement in Texas? ›

Yes, corrections officers are law enforcement officers.

Is evading arrest a misdemeanor in Texas? ›

No matter what the initial reason was for a traffic stop, Texas law provides for enhanced charges and penalties if a person is convicted of evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle. This crime is classified as a felony offense. The same law and penalties also apply to boaters or operators of “watercrafts.”

What's the difference between evading and resisting arrest? ›

The primary difference is the way in which a person behaves. Refusing to cooperate with officers while remaining at the scene is an example of resisting arrest while actually leaving the scene is classified as evasion.

What does evading mean in law? ›

A driver who flees after a police officer issues an order to stop has likely committed a criminal offense—evading (or eluding) a law enforcement officer. It's a crime that can lead to serious penalties.

What is the difference between reckless evading and evading? ›

Willful or wanton disregard for safety. The key factor distinguishing felony reckless evading from simple (misdemeanor) evading an officer is a requirement that the defendant drove recklessly—with wanton disregard for the safety of people or property—while evading the officer.

How do you evade the police? ›

  1. Be a Criminal… In Private. ...
  2. Don't Stick Out. This is a fairly obvious detail since evading the police successfully calls for being as inconspicuous as possible. ...
  3. Lose Your Social Life. ...
  4. Consider Using a Burner Phone. ...
  5. Play it Cool. ...
  6. Be Prepared for A Car Chase.
13 May 2019

Is fleeing from police a felony? ›

Evading the police usually is a misdemeanor if the situation is straightforward, and the defendant simply fled the scene. Aggravating factors that can result in a felony charge may include a physical confrontation with the officer.

Can you get a bond on a MTR in Texas? ›

In Texas, if an MTR is filed on a misdemeanor offense the probationer is entitled to a bond. However, in a felony case the probationer can be held in the county jail without bond until the resolution of their case. Occasionally, the judge will set a felony MTR bond after a bond hearing requested by the defendant.

How much is bail for a felony in Texas? ›

Bail for state jail felonies is usually around $500 to $1,500. Third Degree Felonies - Offenses include stalking, indecent exposure to a child, a third DWI offense, deadly conduct with a firearm, or intoxication assault. Bail for third-degree felonies is usually around $1,500 to $5,000.

How long after arrest is indictment in Texas? ›

Beyond the arrest the D.A.'s office has 90 days in which to indict the case by presenting a case to the grand jury and securing a True Bill. Individuals still in jail beyond 90 days without the presentment of a case to the grand jury must be released on a reduced bond or a personal recognizance bond.

How do you get a prosecutor to drop charges? ›

There are multiple ways a defendant or their attorney can convince a prosecutor to drop criminal charges. Examples include lack of probable cause, presenting exculpatory evidence, showing police violated their rights, or partaking in a pretrial diversion program.

What is one reason prosecutors may decide to dismiss cases? ›

A prosecutor may drop a criminal charge if it is determined that the evidence against the accused isn't strong enough. Or, perhaps new evidence is found which undercuts the prosecution's case against the defendant.

How can charges be dropped before court date? ›

Presenting Exculpatory Evidence

The Prosecutor needs to believe that you committed the offense to be able to charge you. But if you can provide any evidence, in the form of witnesses or physical evidence, that proves you did not commit the offense, the Prosecutor will get your charges dropped.

What degree is a resisting arrest in Texas? ›

In most cases, resisting arrest is treated as a Class A misdemeanor under Texas law. This is the highest level of misdemeanor before a charge becomes a felony. For a class A misdemeanor, a conviction carries a maximum jail sentence of 1 year.

What happens if you resist arrest? ›

If you have no prior felony convictions, then your resisting arrest sentence could be: Probation, with anywhere from 0 days in jail to 12 months in jail. Prison is also a possibility, but not likely for a first-time offense. A prison sentence ranges from 4 months in prison to 2 years in prison.

What counts as resisting arrest Texas? ›

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally prevents or obstructs a person he knows is a peace officer or a person acting in a peace officer's presence and at his direction from effecting an arrest, search, or transportation of the actor or another by using force against the peace officer or another.

Can you record while being detained in Texas? ›

If you are stopped or detained for taking photographs

Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal.

Do arrest warrants in Texas expire? ›

No one seems to know where this idea came from, but it's just plain false. Warrants never expire. So, remember that citation that you got for not mowing your yard back in 1996 when you lived in El Paso.

How long can police hold you for questioning in Texas? ›

There are no set time limits established in federal criminal law regarding constitutional rights when being detained. However, judicial precedent has typically set two hours as the time limit to decide on an arrest when evidence is found.

Can you refuse to show ID to police Texas? ›

Texas law only requires that you show your ID to a police officer under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: after you've been arrested, when you are driving, and when you are carrying a handgun.

Does the passenger have to show ID in Texas? ›

Operators of motor vehicles are required to identify, NOT the passengers, unless the passengers are accused of violating a law in the state of Texas. Keep in mind that giving false identifying information to law enforcement officers while detained is a violation of the state of Texas.

Do I have to give police my name? ›

You DO NOT have to give your name and address unless the officer points out an offence he / she suspects you have committed. However, not providing your details may lead to you being detained for longer.

What evidence is needed to convict a hit and run in Texas? ›

They may use license plate numbers from witnesses and physical evidence, such as paint transferred during the crash, to identify the vehicle, and fingerprints or your own injuries to connect you to the car.

Can you be a cop in Texas with a misdemeanor? ›

Yes, an adult Class A Misdemeanor conviction or court-ordered community supervision (adjudicated or deferred) is a lifetime disqualification for licensure as a peace officer or jailer in the state of Texas, unless an agency applies for and receives a waiver on your behalf from the Commission.

Is running away legal in Texas? ›

It is against the law in Texas for a child to run away from home. It is considered a status offense, not a criminal offense, meaning it would not be an offense if committed by an adult. The Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention Act protects status offenders from being placed in “secured facilities” like a jail.

Does Texas require a polygraph for police? ›

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement requires that police applicants undergo a background investigation, but does not require that a polygraph test be administered (https://www.tcole.texas.gov/content/career-texas-law-enforcement).

Do Texas game wardens have more authority than police? ›

Game Wardens Are Police

And while most of the time they're enforcing the Texas Parks & Wildlife Code, they have the full authority to enforce all other Texas criminal laws, including the penal code. So, remember, when you're dealing with a Texas game warden, you're dealing with the police.

Are custody detention officers police officers? ›

A custody officer is in charge of the protection and transportation of detainees and/ or prisoners between a jail or prison and court. Most custody officers in the United States are also limited commissioned law enforcement officers and can only enforce the laws that directly pertain to custody enforcement.

How much time can you get for being a fugitive from justice? ›

Federal law defines fugitives are people who cross state lines to escape being arrested, charged, or imprisoned. Suspected fugitives face up to five years in prison, and people who conceal fugitives face up to one, three, or five years in prison depending on the case.

What does 148 mean in police code? ›

Penal Code 148(a) describes resisting arrest as any criminal conduct that resists, delays, or obstructs any peace officer in the course of their official duties. Penal Code 148 PC makes it a crime to willfully resist a police officer while performing their duties.

How much does it cost for resisting arrest? ›

However, whoever knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes a police officer in active duty by using violence is guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fines.

What is it called when you resist arrest? ›

Resisting arrest occurs when a person interferes with a law enforcement officer's attempt to perform a lawful arrest. Some states call the crime "obstruction." The crime can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the actions of the person being arrested.

What are examples of evasion? ›

Evasion is the act of physically escaping from something, like your evasion of your ex-girlfriend at the prom — you kept dancing. Now that's fancy footwork. Evasion also means "dodging something you are supposed to do" like your evasion of your chores by pretending to be sick.

What is the sentence for evasion? ›

Someone convicted of felony recklessly evading the police face up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. They will also be responsible for court costs, attorney's fees, and the costs of towing and impounding your car.

What is evasion responsibility? ›

Definition of Evading Responsibility

It occurs when a driver involved in an accident leaves, rather than staying at the scene to provide their name and address or help someone who is injured.

What is the punishment for a 3rd degree felony in Texas? ›

Sec. 12.34. THIRD DEGREE FELONY PUNISHMENT. (a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.

What is 3rd degree felony in Texas? ›

Third-degree felony offenses are crimes such as stalking, deadly conduct with a firearm, intoxication assault, and possession of a firearm as a felon.

Is there a 4th degree felony in Texas? ›

Texas created a new fourth degree felony category called the state jail felony. 2 The maximum sentence for these formerly third degree felonies dropped from ten to two years.

Is jail time mandatory for a felony in Texas? ›

First degree felonies are the second-most severe type of crime in Texas. Convictions carry up to life imprisonment. The mandatory minimum is 5 years in jail.

Can you get probation for a state jail felony in Texas? ›

5. Is probation an option for state jail felonies? Defendants facing state jail felony charges can be sentenced to probation, instead of jail time.

How can I reduce a felony to a misdemeanor in Texas? ›

The prosecutor can request (through plea bargain or at sentencing) that the judge reduce a state jail felony to a Class A misdemeanor. While 12.44(b) has the same two possible sentences, it does not result in a felony conviction. A conviction under 12.44(b) is a misdemeanor conviction.

Can you film cops in Texas? ›

Laws Regarding Recording Police

In Texas and other states, it is legal to film, photograph, or otherwise, record anything that can be seen in a public place. This is a constitutional right, and it is very important in a free society.

Can you swear at a police officer in Texas? ›

As you already know, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects free speech. Because of the Amendment, police officers generally cannot arrest people, nor can the government prosecute them, simply for what they've said.

How long can police detain you in Texas? ›

Detainment. There are no set time limits established in federal criminal law regarding constitutional rights when being detained. However, judicial precedent has typically set two hours as the time limit to decide on an arrest when evidence is found.

Can you get probation for a 3rd degree felony in Texas? ›

Third Degree Felony Punishment – Texas Penal Code § 12.34

Depending on a person's criminal history and the circumstances of the charge, someone can also get community supervision (probation) or deferred adjudication. The length of probation for a 3rd Degree Felony is usually 2 to 10 years.

Can a 3rd degree felony be dropped to a misdemeanor in Texas? ›

Whether you're in Travis County, Williamson County, or any other county in Texas, a felony case can be dropped down to a misdemeanor. So, can a felony case be dropped down to a misdemeanor? Yes, yes it can.

Can you get probation for a 1st degree felony in Texas? ›

Probation can be an option for certain first degree felony convictions in Texas. Probation is an alternative to serving time in jail. Some defendants convicted of first degree felonies can be put on probation rather than sent to prison. Probationers have to meet all of the requirements of their probation.

What felons Cannot do in Texas? ›

With a felony conviction, you lose your right to hold public office or any public position without a full pardon. You are also disqualified from holding certain professions if you have a felony conviction.

What is the smallest felony? ›

A felony 6 is the lowest category of felony and is charged for:
  • Identity theft.
  • Resisting arrest.
  • Illegal gambling.
  • Dealing or manufacturing illegal drugs (although the type of drug and the amount could lead to charges of a higher-level felony)
  • Drug possession, including cocaine, narcotics, and methamphetamine.
19 Mar 2021

What is the lightest felony? ›

Felonies are classified under five classes, where a first-degree felony is the harshest sentencing and a fifth-degree felony has the lightest penalties. The following are the maximum penalties for all types of felonies.


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