Not Every Car Chase is High Speed

Posted by Doug Murphy | Aug 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Usually, when people think of a police chase, images of speeding cars blowing through stoplights and squealing around corners come to mind. They think of vigilantes followed by a passel of police cars with their lights flashing and sirens blaring in hot pursuit.

People don't usually think of drivers who are driving very slowly, perhaps not more than 40 miles per hour (mph), and maybe not even 10 mph. But slow speed police chases definitely happen. People who have been in a slow-speed police chase are frequently charged with DWI because police officers are trained to suspect that a slow driver is intoxicated, though that is not always the case.

Evading arrest is a crime under Texas law. It is defined as intentionally fleeing from a person they know is a peace officer or federal special investigator who is attempting lawfully to arrest or detain them. Evading arrest on foot is a misdemeanor in Texas, but if the suspect is in a motor vehicle or boat, it's a felony punishable by between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

A veteran and experienced criminal defense specialist attorney, like Doug Murphy, knows how to mount a strong defense against a charge of evading arrest in a motor vehicle, even when the suspect is also accused of DWI.

In Benton County, Washington, Washington State Patrol arrested a 23-year-old woman and charged her with DUI and third-degree theft, after they say she drove away from a tow truck driver without paying. Officers continued to follow the woman at the staggeringly slow speed of 8 mph before the woman crashed her car on the shoulder of the road.

Police followed a 68-year-old man in Bellafonte, Pennsylvania, for more than 15 miles, though the man never exceeded 20 mph, after pursuing the man because of his slow and erratic driving. Officers eventually stopped the man by activating spike strips to flatten his tires. He was charged with a DUI for driving while under the influence of marijuana.

In Van Nuys, California, spike strips were also used to stop a driver whose top speed, even on the freeways, never exceeded 40 mph. Five Highway Patrol cars followed the driver for four hours through a large swath of Southern California. The man turned back to Van Nuys, where he was (eventually) arrested and charged with DUI.

Police officers in Knoxville, Tennessee, followed a 68-year-old man on a slow-speed chase down both Interstates 40 and 640 after receiving a call that the man was passed out behind the wheel of his mini-van, while parked in the middle of the road. But, when officers arrived, the man was awake and driving the van, which had a flat tire. The chase never moved faster than 30 mph, and officers ended it by deploying stop sticks. The man was charged with DUI and felony fleeing.

A man in Louisburg, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with DUI and resisting an officer after a low-speed chase. Police officers saw the man driving very slowly in the parking lot of an elementary school and began following him. The man led the officers on a chase that never exceeded 35 mph, before he nearly hit an oil tank and stopped his car in a soybean field.

Though movies often feature high-speed chases, many police officers suspect that driving a vehicle exceptionally slowly is a sign that a driver is impaired.

While these examples above took place in other states, Doug Murphy has represented many cases similar to these examples with successful outcomes.  Because evading arrest in a motor vehicle is a serious 3rd degree felony in Texas, if you have been arrested after a slow-speed chase, for DWI, or other reasons, you must hire a lawyer who is experienced in these cases. Criminal Defense and DWI Specialist Attorney Doug Murphy has successfully defended many clients on evading arrest and DWI charges. Contact our office today.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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