Evading arrest is seen as an attempt to sabotage a law enforcement officer’s investigation. This crime takes place when an individual intentionally flees from a police officer attempting to arrest, detain, or investigate them. Texas drivers are required to pull over if a police officer is attempting to conduct a traffic stop. If they fail to comply with the police officer’s orders to quickly (but safely) pull over to the side of the road, they can pose a safety risk to the officer and the general public. When suspects lead police officers on police chases--both in-car and on-foot--countless lives are put in harm’s way. Because of this, evading arrest is considered a very serious crime that can cause individuals to face felony charges.
Evading arrest is never the right decision to make. It puts the lives of the innocent bystanders in danger, and it can also threaten the life of both you and the officer attempting to conduct the traffic stop. You will not be able to successfully evade law enforcement, and you will inevitably make your situation worse. A situation that could have ended with a simple citation for a traffic violation may turn into a criminal case that lands you in prison for years.
Evading arrest is a serious crime that should be enforced, but it is important to remember that not every individual charged with evading arrest is guilty of trying to stop a law enforcement officer from doing his or her job. In many cases, drivers are unaware of the officer attempting to pull them over for a traffic job. Harsh weather conditions, loud music, and heavy traffic are only a few of the reasons why some drivers are unable to realize they are being pulled over.
There is no reason why a law-abiding citizen should be jailed on felony charges for a simple misunderstanding, but this, unfortunately, happens more often than you think. If you have recently been charged with evading arrest but you are attempting to contest the charges, the first thing you should do is find a criminal defense attorney. This charge does not always have to result in a conviction, but successfully fighting these charges starts with hiring the right attorney for your situation.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy specialize in criminal defense. Our legal experts have years of experience helping Texans and residents of Denton County, Wise County, Tarrant County, and many other counties located within the Lone Star State. We understand the severity of this charge, and we also understand the many defenses clients can use when they find themselves being charged with this crime. For more information on how our law office can help you, contact our Denton location today at 940-222-8004. We offer prospective clients a free consultation so we can get to know you and your unique situation.
● Definition of Evading Arrest
● Consequences of Evading Arrest
● Defenses to Evading Arrest Charges
● Resources for Evading Arrest in Denton, Texas
According to Texas Penal Code Section 38.04, an individual is guilty of evading arrest if they are found intentionally fleeing from a person they know is an active peace (law enforcement) officer or federal special investigator attempting to perform lawful detention or arrest.
It is important to remember that evading arrest is not only applicable to individuals who are in automobiles. Individuals who are on foot can also be charged with evading arrest, as well as individuals who are using aircraft or watercraft to evade law enforcement.
Section 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code details the many penalties of evading arrest. According to this section, evading arrest is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor, but it can become a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the event. If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of this offense, this can be upgraded to a state jail felony. Evading arrest can be upgraded to a third-degree felony if the alleged offender causes another individual to suffer serious bodily injury as a direct result of the evasion, or if the alleged offender uses a tire deflation device against the law enforcement officer during the evasion.
Evading arrest can be classified as a second-degree felony if an individual is killed or seriously injured as a direct result of the evasion.
Like most other crimes, the court of public opinion may be extremely quick to judge you. When people hear the phrase “evading arrest”, many of them immediately visualize a high-speed chase or a footrace that leads officers on a long, unnecessary pursuit that simply delays one’s inevitable arrest. This does not describe every single case, but unfortunately, people can be quick to judge. A major consequence of being convicted of evading arrest is being seen as a reckless, selfish criminal who is willing to put law enforcement officers and innocent bystanders in harm’s way.
While evading arrest charges can seem very daunting, there are defenses that can be used to potentially reduce or dismiss the charges the defendant is up against. When being charged with evading arrest, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of this crime. And to do that, prosecuting attorneys must be able to prove that you were intentionally evading law enforcement while they were trying to arrest or detain you. In addition to this, they must also prove that your actions warranted a potential detention or arrest. In other words, they must be able to prove that you were committing a crime. If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your behavior could have led to an arrest or detention, and you attempted to evade the police upon their attempt to arrest or detain you.
There are other defenses that can be used in a court of law. For starters, some individuals may have auto problems that hinder their vehicles from stopping and pulling over in a timely manner. If the official confused your delayed stop for you attempting to get away from the officer, you may have a quality defense for your case.
In addition to this, road and weather conditions can also be a deterrent. Certain parts of the state of Texas have extremely unpredictable weather, and this cycle includes heavy rain. It can be much harder to see or hear orders from law enforcement if it is pouring rain outside. If you were accused of evading arrest and you were experiencing circumstances in which it was difficult to see or hear the police officer, you may have a potential defense you can use in court.
There are many other defenses that can be used to dispute evading arrest charges. As previously mentioned, not every traffic stop is lawful, and not every evading arrest charge has to lead to a criminal conviction. However, if you expect to effectively build a defense to your charges in hopes of reducing or dismissing your charges, you will need to hire a criminal defense attorney that understands what’s going on.
Addressing Police Misconduct Laws Enforced by the Department of Justice - This link takes you to the website of The United States Department of Justice. This webpage contains information about police misconduct laws, including unlawful arrests and discriminatory traffic stops.
Texas Penal Code § 38.04 - This link takes you to Section 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code on Casetext.com, where you can learn more about the official definitions and descriptions of evading arrest, and the consequences of being convicted of this crime.
Being arrested for evading arrest can be extremely scary, especially for an individual who has never been in trouble with law enforcement.
For more information on how we can help you with your charges, contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Our team of legal experts and experienced criminal defense attorneys have everything you need to build a strong defense for your case. With decades of experience representing Texans in Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth, and countless other cities in the Lone Star State, we are committed to providing our clients with top-notch legal counsel that has the potential to bring out desirable outcomes in a court of law.
Have you been notified of your charges? If so, the best thing you can do for yourself is to contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you live in Denton or any of the surrounding areas of this city, contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today. Call 940-222-8004 to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team. You can also reach out to us through our online contact page. Fill out your name, contact information, and a little bit of info about your case and we’ll make sure a legal professional gets in touch with you shortly after.