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Evading Arrest or Detention in a Motor Vehicle in Texas

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.

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.

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


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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.

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.

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.

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.