Obstruction of Highway or Passageway
You may not know it but obstructing a highway or passageway without legal authority in the state of Texas is actually a crime. Texas law requires you to move if law enforcement makes a “reasonable” request for you to disperse during a public safety event (such as a riot) or to prevent the obstruction of a passageway or highway. Violation of these laws will result in serious consequences which includes time spent in jail.
If you or someone you know has been charged with obstruction of a highway or passageway, it’s crucial you secure legal counsel right away. The prosecution is likely going to attempt to pressure you into a plea deal, but you don’t have to take it without the guidance of an experienced attorney. Your traffic defense lawyer can assess the case facts and determine if the plea deal is a smart move or if other legal options are available.
Don’t wait another moment to protect your freedom and contact a criminal defense attorney today.
Austin Defense Attorney for Obstruction of Highway in, TX
Obstructing a highway or passageway is a victimless nonviolent crime, but a conviction still carries heavy penalties. If you’ve been accused of obstructing a highway, we encourage you to contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Austin traffic lawyer Kevin Bennett has handled many obstruction of highway cases and other related offenses in the Central Texas area for years. With his skills and resources, Kevin Bennett can build an effective and efficient defense for you.
Don’t hesitate when it comes to your freedom. Make the right decision by calling The Law Office of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626 today to set up your first consultation free of charge. At the consultation Kevin Bennett will examine the details of your case and begin formulating a defense plan then and there. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Austin and Travis County area including Sunset Valley, Georgetown, San Marcos, Lago Vista and West Lake Hills.
Overview of Obstruction of Highway in Texas
- How Bad is an Obstruction of Highway Charge in Texas?
- Obstruction of Highway vs. DWI Charges in Texas
- Additional Resources
How Bad is an Obstruction of Highway Charge in Texas?
It might not seem serious but obstructing a highway without the authority to do so can result in severe consequences. What’s even more surprising is that you can be charged with a crime for obstructing public passageways such as an elevator or a sidewalk. While obstruction of a highway is relatively minor and nonviolent crime, the state of Texas has disregarded that by implementing harsh penalties upon conviction. For these reasons it’s common for offenders to underestimate their charges until they enter the courtroom and hear the statutory penalties.
Under the Texas Penal Code Section 42.03, a person is guilty of obstructing a highway or passageway if, without legal privilege or authority, intentionally, knowingly or recklessly does any of the following:
- Obstruct a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, or any other place used for the passage of people, vehicles, or conveyances;
- Disobey a reasonable request to move from a police officer, firearm, or person with authority to control the use of the premises. The request to move must have been made for one of the following reasons:
- To prevent the obstruction of a highway or any of those areas mentioned above;
- To maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in a dangerous proximity to a fire, riot, or any other hazard.
In the context of the crime, the term “obstruct” means to render impassable or to render passage unreasonable inconvenient or hazardous. This can include large riots or groups of people blocking off public passageways or highways.
Obstructing a highway or passageway is a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 180 days in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,000
Obstruction of Highway vs. DWI Charges in TX
For some, a charge of obstruction of a highway or passageway is welcome. It’s not uncommon for those charged with DWI to cut a deal with the prosecutor in an attempt to “plead down” to an obstruction of a highway or passageway charge. There are several reasons why a DWI offender may choose to take this route. Firstly, a DWI conviction is notoriously very expensive in the state of Texas. While many first-time DWI offenders receive probation, they still must pay an insane amount of court fees, probation fees, DWI class fees, license reinstatement fees and more. A single DWI can sometimes cause a whole family to go bankrupt because of the never-ending fines and fees.
Another reason why DWI offenders may try to plead down to obstruction of a highway is because the crime has a lot less stigma attached to it. Often people who have a prior DWI have issues obtaining employment and housing. Employers or landlords may make assumptions and assume the offender is either a drunk or has substance abuse issues.
An obstruction of a highway or passageway conviction doesn’t look great on your record, but it’s a nonviolent traffic crime. So, you will likely face much less stigma than if you had a prior DWI. Unfortunately, reducing a DWI charge to obstruction of highway is much easier said than done. That is why having a skilled and experienced traffic defense attorney on your side is important.
Your defense lawyer can find sufficient evidence favorable to the defense and shake the prosecutor’s confidence in obtaining a guilty verdict at trial. They can do this by:
- Finding mistakes the arresting officers made, especially when administering DWI or field sobriety tests to you;
- Find a strong legal issue with your arrest;
- Find a strong legal issue with the traffic stop;
- Determine issues related to the breath, blood or urine sample; or
- Detect issues related to the lab that tested your blood sample
Obstruction of a Highway or Passageway Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to read up more on disorderly offenses such as obstruction of a highway or passageway. Access the site to read up more on offenses such as rioting, disorderly conduct, disrupting a meeting or procession and silent or abuse calls to 9-1-1.
Driving While Intoxicated Laws in TX | TXDOT – Visit the official website for the TXDOT to learn more about the laws for driving under the influence in Texas. Access the site to view the penalties for the crime, the BAC requirements to drive and the elements required for an aggravated DWI.
Traffic Defense Lawyer in Austin, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with an obstruction of a highway or any related traffic crime, it’s imperative you seek a criminal defense attorney to assist you. You can find a reputable and dedicated attorney with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett in the greater Austin, Texas area. He can analyze the facts of your case and determine what the next best step is to preserve your freedom.
Get in contact with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today by calling (512) 476-4626. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett will set up your first consultation free and at that consultation will disclose to you all your legal options. Traffic crimes lawyer Kevin Bennett practices throughout the greater Austin and Travis County area including West Lake Hills, Rollingwood, Lago Vista and Del Valle.