What is Evading Arrest in Houston, Texas?

15 Dec 2022
Greco Neyland, PC

This December a Texas man was arrested for climbing to the roof of a hotel while being served a warrant. He used the hotel’s attic system to jump both to the roof, and from room to room, all while trying to avoid the police.

While this might sound like an exciting scene straight out of an action film, evading arrest is a serious crime in Texas.

What is evading arrest?

The Texas Penal Code defines evading arrest or detention as intentionally fleeing from someone you know to be a peace officer or federal special investigator attempting to lawfully arrest or detain them.

This offense is a Class A misdemeanor, but it can be bumped up to a felony under certain circumstances.

When is evading arrest a felony?

Evading arrest becomes a felony when:

  • The defendant has been previously convicted for evading arrest, or;
  • The defendant uses a car or boat to evade arrest, or;
  • Another person is injured as a direct result of the defendant’s flight, or;
  • Another person dies as a result of the defendant’s flight.

It can be charged as a Class E, Class D, or Class C felony.

What are the defenses for evading arrest?

The first defense is that you didn’t intend to flee or didn’t know police were pursuing you. If you are being chased by a plain clothes officer, for example, who doesn’t announce themself as a cop, then it may be pretty reasonable to run away. You might have every reason to fear for your life, instead of fearing arrest.

Another defense may be that you did not intend to flee. For example if you simply got on the interstate and got 8 car lengths ahead of the cops before they ever put their lights on then we can make the argument that you were just driving the way any other person might drive.

Much depends on the amount of evidence the prosecution has vs. what we can do to undermine that evidence. Your character and history may also play a role in your defense.

Can evading arrest cases be dismissed in Texas?

Yes. In fact here in Houston it’s reasonably common for these cases to get dismissed. Prosecutors in Houston are wiling to drop charges if they have reason to believe you weren’t truly trying to flee.

If the prosecution does not believe you then a plea bargain or a trial will generally be your best bet. It is harder to negotiate deferred prosecution agreements for this offense, as prosecutors tend to take it very seriously.

Get Help Today

Evading arrest could mean facing multiple charges. Like other charges related to arrests, you can be convicted of this crime even if you are eventually cleared of all other charges.

Schedule a cases review with our office to get help ASAP. We will pursue all available avenues for your defense.

See also:

When Can You Be Accused of Resisting Arrest in Texas?

Is Perjury a Felony in a Houston, TX Criminal Case?

5 Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Your Houston, TX Criminal Case

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