In: Criminal Defense

The Difference Between Evading and Eluding Arrest

When a police officer turns on his lights to stop your vehicle or tries to detain you on the street, it is always wise to cooperate. If you fail to do so, you might face charges of either evading arrest or detention (evading arrest) or fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer (eluding arrest). While similar, these are distinct offenses with certain differences.

Evading Arrest

Evading arrest is an offense under Texas Penal Code 38.04. This crime involves intentionally fleeing from someone who you know is a peace officer or federal investigator who is trying to lawfully detain or arrest you. While police officers cannot simply arrest anyone they want, there are circumstances when detention or arrest is lawful, and it is best to heed the instructions of the officer in this situation.

If you are accused of evading arrest, you could face one of the following charges and possible penalties for a conviction:


  • State jail felony charges with a possible 180 days to two years in jail
  • Third-degree felony charges with a possible two to ten years in prison
  • Second-degree felony charges with a possible two to 20 years in prison

The degree of charge and potential penalties will depend on several factors, such as whether you were in a vehicle, whether anyone was injured as a result of the fleeing, and whether you have prior convictions of this offense.

Eluding Arrest

Eluding arrest is an offense set out by Texas Transportation Code 545.421. This violation occurs when you are driving a motor vehicle and willfully refuse or fail to stop – and instead flee or attempt to elude – when a police officer in a vehicle gives an audible or visual sign for you to stop your vehicle. Signals from officers can include flashing lights, sirens, voice commands, or hand gestures. This offense can be either of the following depending on the alleged conduct of the eluding driver:

  • Class B misdemeanor charge, which can result in 180 days in jail
  • Class A misdemeanor charge, which can result in one year in jail

There are ways to defend against both evading arrest and eluding arrest allegations, and the best way to know your available offenses is to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Texas assess your case and your options. The right defense attorney can seek to minimize your penalties or even get your case completely dismissed.

Contact a Lewisville and Frisco Criminal Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible

The Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, handles all types of criminal cases, both involving offenses under the Texas Penal Code or the Transportation Code. All convictions come with consequences that can negatively impact your life in many ways, so you want to present the strongest defense possible in every case. You want to have an experienced Frisco criminal defense lawyer protecting your rights, so please do not wait to call 940-222-2488 or contact us online for a consultation.