Police Vehicle

Texas Evading Police Officers Laws

Running from law enforcement can have serious consequences in Texas. If a police officer attempts to stop you while driving, it’s never a good idea to attempt to escape.

Texas laws for fleeing or attempting to elude police officers are found in Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.421.

Section 545.421 – Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer; offense

(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates a motor vehicle and wilfully fails or refuses to bring the vehicle to a stop or flees, or attempts to elude, a pursuing police vehicle when given a visual or audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop.

(b) A signal under this section that is given by a police officer pursuing a vehicle may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving the signal must be in uniform and prominently display the officer’s badge of office. The officer’s vehicle must bear the insignia of a law enforcement agency, regardless of whether the vehicle displays an emergency light.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the person, during the commission of the offense, recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

(e) A person is presumed to have recklessly engaged in conduct placing another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury under Subsection (d) if the person while intoxicated knowingly operated a motor vehicle during the commission of the offense. In this subsection, “intoxicated” has the meaning assigned by Section 49.01, Penal Code.

As this Texas law describes, evading police is considered any willful attempt to not stop the vehicle, or attempt to escape. Police officers must be in official law enforcement vehicles marked as such, and in uniform, but they do not need to use police sirens and can signal you to stop in other audible or visual ways.

Additional charges can be brought in case you evaded police while they attempted to arrest or detain you for committing a crime. Described in Texas Penal Code Sec. 38.04:

A person commits an offense if he intentionally flees from a person he knows is a peace officer or federal special investigator attempting lawfully to arrest or detain him.

Fleeing in a vehicle is automatically considered a state jail felony.

Eluding police penalties

Section 545.421 of Texas Transportation Code states that individuals in violation of these regulations will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. In addition to fines, this offense is also punishable by 6 month in jail.

“Recklessly engaging in conduct that places another [person] in imminent danger of serious bodily injury”, which can also mean driving while intoxicated, is a Class A misdemeanor. Fines can be up to $4,000, and include up to one year of jail time.

Potential court defenses

For eluding police charges to stick, prosecution will have to prove you willfully disregarded police officer’s attempts to stop your vehicle. A simple hand gesture asking you to pull over is enough to constitute as police officer’s signal to stop your car.

However, you can potentially claim the officer did not adequately signal and you did not see it. This defense is of course extremely difficult to use in case a police siren or emergency lights were used.

Police officer must also be in a marked police vehicle, wearing a uniform, and prominently display his or her badge. In case any of these factors were an issue during your alleged violation, they can be used as potential defenses in court.

Sources and references:

  1. Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.421. – fleeing or attempting to elude police officer
  2. Texas Penal Code 38.04 – evading arrest or detention (fleeing police after committing a crime)

If you’re facing evading police officer charges it is strongly recommended to contact an experienced lawyer for professional legal help.

This article about Texas Evading Police Officers Laws was last updated in 2019. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!