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When Road Rage Becomes a Crime

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

When Road Rage Becomes a Crime

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The Legal Issues of Road Rage

Texas is a very big state with thousands of miles of roads and highways. Most people travel these highways safely and responsibly. However, we have all likely had an encounter with a driver who seemed determined to risk the safety of others on the road.

If you’ve ever been cut off in traffic or if you’ve nearly been sideswiped by a car flying past, you’ve probably been annoyed or even angry. If you have shown another driver a certain finger or shouted choice words at a reckless motorist, you’re not alone. However, there is a fine line between normal expressions of frustration and dangerous behavior. When road rage takes control, legal prosecution may be the end result.

Read on to find out how an incidence of road rage can turn into a legal case.

Defining Road Rage

The term “road rage” can apply to a wide variety of actions. What this term means to you might be very different than what it means to another driver. In general, this term refers to any behavior that occurs when a driver tries to vent their anger while behind the wheel.

In some cases, this could be something as relatively harmless as a rude gesture or shouted curse words between two drivers. In more serious cases, road rage can escalate into a physical altercation or reckless driving.

The Danger of Highway Altercations

No matter the circumstances, road rage is very serious and should be avoided. Even a gesture can be the spark that ignites a much more dangerous incident. If you want to avoid prosecution, fines and potential jail time, it’s much safer to let go of your frustrations on the highway. The alternative might be dangerous or even fatal.

For example, suppose that David is headed home from work after a long day. He is tired and in a bad mood. Suddenly, Marina cuts him off without using a turn signal. David flies into a rage and begins tailgating Marina and blaring his horn. She pulls over and the two of them get into a heated argument. During the confrontation, David kicks out Marina’s taillight and she slaps him in the face. Both of them could be arrested and charged with criminal offenses.

Road Rage Crimes

Anytime that a highway confrontation escalates, criminal charges may be the result. It doesn’t take too much imagination to envision a road rage scenario that gets out of hand. A seemingly endless array of charges could be the result of a road rage encounter but a few are the most common. They include:

  • Assault
  • Assault With A Deadly Weapon
  • Harassment

A conviction on any one of these charges can lead to serious legal penalties. Take a look at how each of these charges could be filed in a road rage case.


Despite what some people may believe, you don’t have to get into a fistfight in order to be charged with assault. In Texas, you can be convicted of assault for shoving another person or getting in their face and making them feel that their safety is in danger. If you get into an argument with another person and make them feel that you might actually hurt them, you can get arrested and charged with assault.

When you are angry, your inhibitions are lowered. This might lead you to do something unusually aggressive, such as shoving another driver. That shove may take less than a second to occur but it could cost you months of legal penalties.

Assault With A Deadly Weapon

When most people hear about assault with a deadly weapon, they picture scenarios involving guns, knives or explosives. However, when you are behind the wheel of a car, your vehicle may be legally considered a deadly weapon if you use it to do damage.

Sideswiping a vehicle that cut you off or running into another person in a fit of rage can get you arrested. Make no mistake, this is a felony charge that can land you in prison.


Harassment refers to more than just rude comments or unkind gestures. In Texas, if you engage in behavior that makes another person feel that they are in danger of being harmed, you may be legally guilty of harassment. This can also apply if you make another person feel that their property, including their vehicle, is in danger of being damaged.

Shouting threats at another driver may be enough to land you in court, facing harassment charges. Even if you avoid legal prosecution, you may face a civil lawsuit or liability if your actions cause another driver to be distracted and get into an accident. You may end up paying for their medical bills if your behavior led to a collision.

Legal Issues

We all get frustrated and angry behind the wheel. The difference between a temporary emotion and a permanent criminal record lies in how you handle those feelings of anger. Take a deep breath and just let it go; your freedom is worth more than the fleeting satisfaction of a shouted curse word.

If you find yourself facing criminal charges after a road rage incident, hiring an attorney is the best step that you can take to create a strong legal defense.

Have you been charged with a crime related to road rage? Attorney Greg Tsioros can help you navigate the law and get the best results possible. Contact his office today at 832-752-5972.

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