Texas Tech Law Review
We see emergencies within our lives and communities every day without much fanfare. However, when emergencies impact entire neighborhoods, communities, or regions, they become disasters. Depending on its severity, residents can be forced to flee in search of safety. Texas has had nearly five times the annual average of federal disaster declarations than that of any other state in the union. To manage emergencies and disasters, Texas law affords local governments numerous powers, including the authority to order evacuations. While many states have a single mechanism to enforce evacuation orders, Texas has both a civil (recovery of rescue expenses) and criminal (misdemeanor offense) enforcement mechanism. While the criminal mechanism has a misdemeanor offense tied to it, the civil mechanism allows jurisdictions to recover the cost of a rescue from people who ignored an evacuation order. This Article examines Texas's dual enforcement approach and the need for a statutory exception. This Article does not examine (1) whether "mandatory" evacuations constitute a Fifth Amendment "taking" or (2) whether a moral duty to rescue exists during a disaster.
Texas Tech University School of Law
William S. Gribble,
It's A Trap!: Responsible Enforcement of Texas Disaster Evacuation Orders,
Tex. Tech L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.tamu.edu/student-scholarship/9