Texas law imposes serious consequences for evading arrest. Below, learn more about this specific Texas law in detail and how a criminal defense lawyer can help those who are criminally charged.

Williamson County Texas Evading Detention or Arrest Lawyers

Don’t face criminal charges alone. Price & Twine, PLLC has a team of criminal defense lawyers with experience defending clients against criminal charges, including evading arrest. Our firm serves the communities of Georgetown, Round Rock, Liberty Hill and the surrounding areas of Williamson County, TX. Reach out to us at (512) 354-1880 to schedule a free consultation about your case.

Evading Detention or Arrest Information Center

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What Constitutes An Evading Detention Or Arrest Charge In Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code Section 38.04, an individual is considered to be evading detention or arrest if they try to flee intentionally from an individual they know to be a police officer or investigator who is trying to lawfully detain or arrest them. The key element here is “intentional” flight. Accidental or unintentional distancing from an officer does not constitute an offense under this law.

Prosecution Under Multiple Laws

An individual can be prosecuted under both this law and another law such as resisting arrest, or both. This means that evading detention or arrest could be one of several charges brought against an individual for the same situation.

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Penalties For Evading Detention Or Arrest

Class A Misdemeanor

The offense starts as a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry penalties of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

State Jail Felony

The offense elevates to a state jail felony if either:

  • The individual has been previously convicted under this law, or
  • The individual uses a vehicle or boat while fleeing.

In Texas, a state jail felony can carry a jail term from 180 days to 2 years, along with a $10,000 maximum fine.

Felony Of The Third Degree

The offense upgrades to a felony of the third degree if:

  • The individual uses a vehicle or boat while in flight and has been previously convicted under this law, or
  • Someone sustains a serious injury as a result of the officer’s attempt to detain the individual in flight.

A felony of the third degree carries a penalty of 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Felony Of The Second Degree

The offense becomes a felony of the second degree if another person suffers death as a result of the officer’s attempt to detain the individual in flight. A felony of the second degree has a penalty range of 2 to 20 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000.

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Defenses To Evading Detention Or Arrest

Lack Of Intent

One of the main elements required for a conviction under this law is the “intent” to evade. Therefore, if it can be proven that the individual did not intentionally flee from the officer, that may serve as a valid defense. For example, if someone ran because they were frightened but did not realize they were being pursued by an officer, this could undermine the prosecution’s case on the element of intent.

Lack Of Knowledge

Another key component of this offense is knowing that the person from whom one is fleeing is a police officer or special federal investigator. If the individual did not know or had no reason to believe that they were fleeing from an officer or investigator, then this might be used as a defense. For instance, if the officer was not in uniform and did not identify themselves as an officer, the accused might claim lack of knowledge.

Unlawful Detention Or Arrest

The statute specifies that the arrest or detention must be “lawful.” Therefore, if it can be shown that the officer was acting outside the scope of their authority or that the arrest or detention was otherwise unlawful, this could serve as a defense to the charge of evading detention or arrest.

Lack Of Serious Bodily Injury Or Death

The statute becomes significantly more severe if another person suffers serious bodily injury or death during the evasion. If these outcomes can be proven unrelated to the evasion or the actions of the accused, it could serve as a valid defense.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Does “Intentionally Fleeing” Mean?

“Intentionally fleeing” means that the person made a conscious decision to run away or evade an officer who was attempting to lawfully arrest or detain them. It’s not enough for the person to simply move away; there must be a deliberate effort to evade the officer.

What Is Considered A “Lawful” Detention Or Arrest?

For an arrest or detention to be considered “lawful,” it must be conducted by an authorized officer or special investigator following the proper protocols and legal requirements. An arrest or detention that violates a person’s constitutional rights may not be considered lawful and could serve as a defense to an evading charge.

Can The Severity Of The Charge Be Increased?

Yes, the base charge under this statute is a misdemeanor (Class A). However, it can be elevated to a state jail felony, a third-degree felony, or even a second-degree felony, based on specific circumstances like prior convictions, use of a vehicle, or causing serious bodily injury or death to another person.

What Does “Serious Bodily Injury” Mean?

Serious bodily injury means an injury that causes a significant risk of death or that results in permanent serious disfigurement or the loss or impairment of a bodily function. If an injury occurs as a direct result of an attempt to catch the person evading arrest, the charges could be elevated to a third-degree or second-degree felony.

Can I Be Charged Under This Section And Another Law?

The law allows for an individual to be prosecuted under both this law and another law if the actions meet the criteria for multiple offenses. For example, if someone evades arrest and also commits assault, they could potentially be charged under both laws.

What Should I Do If I’m Charged?

Always consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you find yourself facing charges related to evading detention or arrest in Texas.

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Evading Detention or Arrest Attorneys | Price & Twine, PLLC

When facing criminal charges, you’ll want a skilled attorney who can make a real difference. The lawyers at Price & Twine, PLLC are highly experienced in criminal defense in Williamson County and are committed to achieving one of the best outcomes for our clients.  To schedule a consultation with us, call (512) 354-1880.