Defense Against Evading in a Vehicle or Evading Arrest
In Texas, you can be charged with evading arrest or detention if police believe you tried to get away from an officer or investigator who was lawfully attempting to arrest you. The crime of evading arrest is similar to resisting arrest, but there are some key differences and evading arrest carries the potential for greater penalties, so it is important to take steps to protect your rights and defend yourself if you have been charged with this offense.
At Barbieri Law Firm, our experienced defense attorneys are ready to help you avoid the potential negative consequences. Our team can provide advice and representation right from the start to help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your defense. We work tirelessly to achieve the best outcome.
What is Evading Arrest or Detention?
Under Section 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be found guilty of evading arrest or detention if that individual “intentionally flees from a person he knows is a peace officer or federal special investigator attempting lawfully to arrest or detain him.” Like all crimes, the offense of evading arrest or detention includes several elements that the prosecution must prove in order to make their case against you. Our experienced team works to demonstrate why one or more of these elements are lacking.
Elements of this crime include establishing that:
- You fled from an officer of the law
- You knew that the person was an officer of the law
- You intentionally fled and weren’t moving away for some other purpose
- The officer was lawful in their attempt to arrest or detain you
In many cases related to this offense, there is considerable controversy about whether an attempt to arrest or detain was lawful. Unlike the crime of resisting arrest, the prosecution does not need to show that you used any force.
Aggravating Factors That Make the Offense More Serious
Evading arrest or detention is penalized more severely and the crime becomes more serious in certain situations. If you have a prior conviction for evading arrest or you use a car or other vehicle in an effort to evade arrest, that aggravates the offense to a more serious crime. If someone is hurt or killed in a chase or efforts to catch you, then penalties increase even more. Of course, if two or more aggravating factors combine, that compounds the offense still further. But remember that every aggravating factor must be proven against you, and that provides additional opportunities to defend against the charges.
Penalties for Evading Arrest or Detention
If you are found guilty of evading arrest on foot, without the use of a vehicle, and you have not been convicted of this crime in the past, then the offense is treated as a Class A misdemeanor. This type of crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Having a prior conviction on your record or using a vehicle during the offense makes evading arrest a state jail felony. The potential penalties increase to two years in jail and a fine as high as $10,000.
If a vehicle is used and there’s a prior conviction, the term of imprisonment can be as long as ten years because the offense is treated as a third-degree felony. Evading arrest or detention will also be penalized as a third degree felony if someone is seriously injured during an ensuing chase or if the person fleeing uses a Stop Stick or other spiked tire deflation device against the pursuing officer. If someone should be killed during attempts to arrest an individual who is fleeing, then evading arrest becomes a second degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
It is crucial to collect evidence that can be used to refute allegations of any of the factors that aggravate the crime, as well as the elements of the basic offense. The sooner you begin working with an experienced attorney, the more opportunity your defense team will have to collect evidence to defeat the case against you.
Put Our Experienced Defense Attorneys to Work for You Now
The crime of evading arrest or detention may be considerably more serious than anything you have been accused of before. It is vital to start on a defense strategy right away. The experienced attorneys at Barbieri law are ready to protect you throughout the process.
If you have been charged with evading arrest or detention, call Barbieri Law Firm today at 972-424-1902 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our Plano evading arrest attorneys.