This November we launched our very first Crime of the Month series by focusing on driving-related offenses. Driving-related offenses are unique in the sense that we have all probably ~technically~ committed a driving-related crime at some point in our driving history. According to the FBI crime clock (which you can check out here) “a violent crime happens every 24.6 seconds and a property crime happens every 4.1 seconds.” While they do not have it listed, my guess would be that a driving-related crime happens every second. I could randomly say “oh, someone is speeding on 1604” and no matter when I said it, I would probably be right.
It might just be a guess, but it’s still important to think about. Because if I’m right, it might just be the class of crime you are most likely to commit. While a good chunk of driving-related offenses will just land you with a ticket, some will land you with potential jail or prison time. This past month, we focused on those driving-related crimes that could land you behind bars. Here’s a quick recap of what we discussed:
Summary of Law: A person commits reckless driving if they drive in willful or wanton disregard for public safety
Offense Level: Between a Class C and a Class B misdemeanor
Things to Remember: Reckless driving can encompass a lot of driving behavior, from texting while driving to doing donuts in a parking lot. Many things that you might think will just land you with a warning or a ticket could also land you with a court case and potential jail time.
Racing on a Highway
Summary of Law: You can’t participate in a race, drag race, acceleration contest, vehicle speed contest, test of physical endurance of a driver or vehicle or things in connection with a drag race, show of speed or make a speed record.
Offense Level: Class B Misdemeanor to Second Degree Felony
Things to Remember: You don’t have to intend to race for you to be charged with racing! An officer seeing you and someone else speeding side by side might be enough to pull you over and arrest you for racing. Also, racing can quickly turn into a much more serious crime than simply speeding. Racing can lead to serious injury or death. When that happens, the crime is punished more severely.
Summary of Law: Prohibits someone from blocking the public from entering or passing through an area that is supposed to be publicly accessible.
Offense Level: Class B Misdemeanor
Things to Remember: The Obstruction statute requires that the state prove you were intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly in the way and preventing people from passing. Obstruction can also happen if a person with authority asks you to move and you do not.
Evading in a Vehicle
Summary of Law: Prohibits a person from intentionally fleeing in a vehicle from a person they know to be a peace officer attempting a lawful arrest or detention.
Offense Level: Third Degree Felony to Second Degree Felony
Things to Remember: Evading in a vehicle is very dangerous and often leads to crashes and bodily injury or death. Delaying pulling over when an officer attempts to pull you over may not automatically count as evading. But delay it too long and you could end up getting charged for it. Evading police is a quick way to get you from a bad situation into a much worse one. As a general rule, even if you don’t believe the officers have a legitimate reason to detain you, it’s best not to test that.
Check out our blog posts on these topics here for more detailed information on the various ways you and your car can get in trouble.
Want to learn more about the many crimes you could get charged with? Follow us on social media and keep an eye out for our Crime of the Month series!
This month, we’re getting festive… Because Santa’s been arrested.
Learn more about Santa Claus’s plight here.
As always, drive smart and drive safe, San Antonio!