In Texas, is it against the law to drive across a merchant's parking lot for the sole purpose of avoiding a stop sign, red light, long line of cars in the normal street route, or just a short-cut to another road? That is, if a driver does not stop in the merchant's parking lot for some valid reason related to the merchant's business and is only using the parking lot as an accessway to another road when the city, state, or federal highway system has already provided a road for same (albeit longer, more tedious or time consuming to traverse), has that driver cutting across a mercant's private parking lot (reserved for customers) commit a crime or traffic violation? If so, what is the name of the crime, what class is it, and what are the penalties if convicted of same? What does the merchant need in order to prove that the driver did indeed drive across their lot for no other reason but to gain access to another road, e.g. a visual recording of the incident by parking lot cam or even handheld video by cell phone? The merchant does pay for the upkeep of that lot (e.g. asphalt repair, painting of parking lanes, outdoor lighting, etc.) and non-customers who do drive across it are responsible for some measure of depreciation to same. But is the merchant's word good enough to get a police officer (etc.) to issue a ticket to the "offender" and would the merchant's word be presumed to trump the driver's possible claim they did not drive across that merchant's lot or did indeed have a valid business reason to drive there (e.g. to check the merchant's store hours on the front door, etc., even if they did not)?
I am willing to wait for an answer, assuming it is an informed answer and not just a guess. This is not a time sensitive question but one for general reference going forward. Ergo, I can wait.
Have I stumped the pool? (smiles)
Thank you for your answer! Point of clarification requested: Part (a) of Sec. 545.423 says one must stop the vehicle [to avoid an offense.] Does that mean stopping the vehicle's engine? Or could one just come to a complete halt momentarily then continue on without ever cutting the engine off or exiting the vehicle, and thereby in "stopping the vehicle," avoid an offense? Furthermore, in Part (b) it refers to crossing a property to get from one "highway" to another "highway." Is that to be interpreted literally, i.e. the roads of departure and arrival must both be "highways" (e.g. a state highway or federal highway), but if either road is a byway, city street, or private road, no offense has been committed? Or by "highway" does the law mean ANY road, paved or otherwise and regardless of which entity or individual owns the road?
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