Everyone’s natural inclination is to avoid arrest, and if you find yourself facing imminent arrest, it is not unusual to want to do everything in your power to avoid the situation. While this is a natural response, the act of evading arrest itself can lead to arrest (in something of a vicious cycle). Better understanding what charges related to evading arrest are all about can help you avoid the fate of facing them, and if you do find yourself in that unfortunate position, an experienced Harker Heights criminal defense lawyer can help.
The Charge of Evading Arrest in Texas
The charge of evading arrest in the State of Texas relates to the crime of intentionally fleeing someone whom you know to be a police officer and who is attempting to lawfully arrest you. The penalties for the charge of evading arrest are – interestingly enough – divided into the categories of whether you allegedly attempted to evade the police officer while you were in a car or another vehicle or were on foot.
If You Are on Foot
If you are on foot when you allegedly flee a police officer who is attempting to arrest you, the charge is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a sentence of up to 180 days behind bars.
If You Are in a Vehicle
Attempting to evade arrest on foot is a serious matter, but things become more serious still if you are driving at the time. Such an offense is what is known as a state jail felony, which can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and/or to a sentence of up to 2 years in jail.
If the evasion of arrest charge is not your first, a conviction (for evading arrest in a motor vehicle) amounts to a third-degree felony, which can leave you facing fines of up to $10,0000 and/or a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. There can be an additional charge enhancement if your alleged attempt to evade arrest causes someone else to be harmed in the process (as a direct result of your attempt to flee).
Bringing Your Strongest Defense
If you are facing a charge of evading arrest, bringing your strongest defense is naturally paramount.
Absence of Intent
If you had no intention of fleeing the arresting officer in the first place, it can amount to a solid defense. For example, if you drove off without even noticing that the police were pursuing you, the necessary element of intent will likely be absent. In other words, had you known – you would have stopped.
You were too intoxicated to form the intention of evading arrest at the time. While this strategy can lead to a DWI charge (if you were driving) or to a public intoxication charge (if you were on foot), it might be a small price to pay.