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Evading Arrest in Texas: What Happens When you Run From the Police

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Evading Arrest in Texas: What Happens When you Run From the Police

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Running From The Police in Texas

Anyone who has watched a television show that follows police on the job has seen a suspect trying to flee from the cops. Perhaps the suspect does not want to go to jail or perhaps they are simply frightened. Whatever the reason, fleeing or attempting to flee from the police is a criminal offense that can lead to arrest, prosecution and additional criminal charges.

These crimes are taken especially serious in Texas because, in the eyes of the justice system, running from the police is a direct interference with police as they are trying to do their job. In addition, some people who run from the police may endanger the lives or safety of the officers involved in the case. This may lead to significantly enhanced charges.

What Is Evading Arrest?

A criminal charge of “evading arrest” may sound simple enough. After all, evading arrest usually involves a person who runs from the police after the police ask them to stop or put their hands up. However, a criminal charge of evading arrest may be filed after a variety of actions.

According to Chapter 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code, a person may be charged with evading arrest if they:

  • Flee a person that they know is a police officer or federal agent


  • That officer or agent is attempting to legally arrest or detain them

This can cover a wide range of activities. For example, running away on foot from the police is an obvious example of evading arrest. A person could also face this criminal charge for fleeing from law enforcement in a vehicle. They may even face charges if they attempt to hide from an investigating officer.

For example, Alex has a warrant out for his arrest due to a missed court date. A warrant officer knocks on his door in order to conduct an arrest. Alex sees the warrant officer and runs out the back door until he is eventually arrested by another officer. Alex may be charged with evading arrest in addition to his initial charges.

Legal Penalties

Evading arrest charges are a very big deal. A person who is convicted of this crime may end up facing jail time and steep fines. In the state of Texas, evading arrest is punishable by:

  • Conviction on a Class A misdemeanor charge
  • Incarceration in county jail for up to one year
  • A fine of up to $4000

However, if a person is convicted of evading arrest if they have a similar previous conviction or if they flee in a vehicle, the charge is upgraded to a state jail felony. This charge is punishable by up to two years in state jail.

A person who is involved in an evasion from law enforcement that results in injury to another person may be charged with a felony of the third degree. This charge is punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.

Related Offenses

There are several other criminal offenses that are similar to a charge of evading arrest. These charges may be filed in an evading arrest case because they may occur simultaneously to the initial offense. For example, these charges may include:

  • Resisting arrest
  • Hindering apprehension or prosecution

For example, a person who flees from the police and then uses force to resist an arrest, detention or search may be charged with both evading arrest and resisting arrest. Unlike evading arrest, a person does not have to be subject to a legal search in order to be charged with resisting arrest.

A person who runs from the police and then hides evidence or another suspect may be charged with evading arrest and hindering arrest or prosecution. In Texas, this is a Class A misdemeanor unless the person being sought by the police is wanted for a felony offense. In this case, the charge is a third degree felony.

Legal Defenses

If someone has been charged with evading arrest, their best bet is to hire a criminal defense attorney. This will give them an opportunity to construct a criminal defense which may allow them to avoid prosecution or conviction. For example, the defense attorney may argue that evading arrest charges do not apply because the defendant was subject to an illegal search or detention.

In the event of a conviction, a defense attorney may be able to arrange a plea deal with the court that may allow the defendant to avoid jail time.

Has someone you know been charged with evading arrest? Houston lawyer Greg Tsioros has the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal system. Contact his office today at 832-752-5972.

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