What Is an Obstruction of Highway Charge?
Were you arrested for DWI, but the prosecutor offered to lower it to an obstruction of a highway charge? This charge is often used to reduce or mitigate a DWI charge. If you have been arrested for suspicion of DWI and want to discuss an obstruction of a highway charge, contact the experienced Dallas DWI lawyers at the Law Offices of RJ Harber at (214) 389-1189 today.
What is Obstruction of a Highway?
An obstruction of highway charge is defined in the Texas Penal Code as illegally blocking a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, etc., regardless of what is creating the blockage. You may also be charged with obstruction of a highway if you disobey a request by an officer (or anyone with authority to control the area you are obstructing) to move the obstruction. It is a Class B misdemeanor in the state of Texas and may be punishable by fines and/or time in jail.
Why Was I Offered an Obstruction of Highway Charge by the Prosecutor?
Sometimes in a DWI case, a prosecutor will offer you a plea bargain that involves an obstruction of highway charge if the evidence against you is not very strong, or if you do not have any prior criminal convictions. There are benefits to this because of the following reasons:
- There may not be overwhelming evidence against you, which makes it easier to defend if you do want to take it to court.
- You are afforded the ability to take lesser punishment options and may be able to dismiss the DWI charge altogether.
- It may be easier to get a non-disclosure of the crime on your record than it would be with a DWI conviction.
A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will review your case and the plea bargain offered by the prosecutor. Your attorney will let you know whether fighting the DWI is in your best interest or if accepting the obstruction charge is the best option for you.
Why Would I Want to Plead Guilty to Obstruction?
While every case varies, there are benefits to pleading guilty to obstruction of highway. Many times, a guilty plea for this charge will result in a lesser punishment than what you would get if you plead guilty (or were found guilty) of a DWI charge. The maximum punishment for obstruction is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. You also gain the ability to negotiate for deferred adjudication and dismissal of the DWI charges.
If you have not been offered the obstruction charge by the State but would like to use the charge as a part of negotiating a deal, you increase your chances of success if you have no criminal history. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to look at your criminal history and the aspects of your DWI charge to assess whether you will able to effectively use the obstruction charge in your favor.
The State looks at your criminal history, the police report, the evidence gathered when you were pulled over by the police officer, the results of any field and breathalyzer and/or blood tests, and whether anyone was injured as a result of the DWI. They will also look to see if another crime resulted from the acts leading to the DWI. Any evidence found will be used against you when negotiating a plea deal, so make sure to hire an attorney who has experience with these specific types of charges.
Other Reasons to Plead Guilty to Obstruction of Highway
A DWI can be very damaging to your reputation, career, family, and even future opportunities in life. If you have more than one DWI, that damage is even more severe. For instance, some professional licensing boards are very strict about background checks and will look for a DWI on an applicant’s records. If you have a DWI conviction, it may result in non-licensure or a longer waiting period to obtain your desired professional license.
In the family context, Child Protective Services (CPS) and family courts —if you have children or are in the middle of a divorce with children— will look at a DWI more harshly than an obstruction charge, and they might use it against you.
Whatever the details of your case, a DWI looks much worse on your criminal record, can be difficult to remove or move for non-disclosure, and it can have very serious ramifications for you in both the present and future. While it is not ideal to plead guilty to one crime to avoid another, sometimes that is your best route to mitigating the more damaging effects of a more severe crime like DWI.
Contact a Dallas DWI Defense Lawyer Today
No one anticipates being arrested for a DWI, but when it happens to you, you need an attorney who has experience defending people just like you. Because a DWI can affect your job, your family, and your social life, it is important to mount an aggressive defense against these allegations.
For more than a decade, attorney RJ Harber has worked hard to defend people who have been charged with a DWI in Dallas. As a former Tarrant County prosecutor, he knows how the prosecution will likely approach your case, and he will work with you to build the most convincing defense possible. Don’t leave your freedom and your livelihood to chance with an apathetic or inexperienced attorney. Contact The Law Offices of RJ Harber at (214) 389-1189 to discuss the specifics of your case. We’re ready to fight for you.