Police Bait Car Arrests: Are There Any Defenses?


The State of Texas has more car, SUV, and truck thefts than any other state except California. One local news report states that in Dallas, someone steals a car every 54 minutes, whereas in Fort Worth, auto thefts have increased 19% over the past two years. As a result, local law enforcement agencies increasingly have moved to the use of “bait cars” to arrest individuals for auto theft.

A bait, decoy, or trap car is a vehicle owned by law enforcement and placed in a location to entice prospective car thieves. The vehicle often contains items such as laptops, electronics, or other items that may make people more likely to steal the vehicle. Police officers remotely monitor the car and often can control the car via GPS surveillance systems. These systems may allow the police to remotely shut down the car’s motor after someone has stolen it or lock the doors and windows with the alleged perpetrator inside it.

Although using a bait car may seem like a clear case of entrapment, courts have ruled that this deceptive technique is legally valid under Texas law. Therefore, although many accused individuals attempt to raise the entrapment defense, it is likely to be unsuccessful.

cars in a parkinglot
Police Bait Car Arrests: Are There Any Defenses?

There are other defenses that may be applicable in a car theft case. For instance, defendants may be able to argue that they believed the vehicle to be abandoned, so they did not have the required intent to deprive the owners of the vehicle of their property. Another potential defense may be mistake of fact.

Whatever your situation may be, you should not give up hope. There may be defenses that you can use to reduce or eliminate the criminal charges that you are facing. By enlisting the assistance of legal counsel, you may be in a better position to defend yourself against the charges. If you or a family member is facing any criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at  (512) 399-2311 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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