Friday, November 7, 2008

What is obstruction of a highway?

Recently my colleague, Robert Guest of the Dallas area, posted an article on his Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog about the mysterious offense of obstructing a highway (OAH).  I've had my own experience with OAH in Galveston County.

Twice in the past year I have represented a client who was stopped for a traffic violation, allegedly performed poorly on field sobriety tests administered at the scene (but not videotaped) and then proceeded to blow sky-high numbers on the Intoxi-liar.

In both instances my clients were young and had never been in trouble with the law before.  In both instances, the only video available was from the station immediately prior to the breath test --- and in neither video did my clients appear two- or three-times the legal limit.

As I worked up both cases I lobbied with the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a lesser offense -- and in both cases I was told it was impossible with such a high test score.  Both prosecutors changed their minds, however, on the eve of trial and offered a reduction to OAH (in one instance my client benefitted from the breath test scandal and the DA actually dismissed the case).

In both cases my clients were all to happy to accept the offer and avoid the stigma of having a DWI conviction on their records.  The lesson to be learned?  In both cases we were prepared to go to trial and show the disconnect between the breath test and the observed behavior on the video.  And in both cases the prosecutor backed down at the pretrial conference.

If you plead to a DWI charge you are guaranteed a conviction; however, should you prepare your case and test the resolve of the prosecutor, good things can happen.  Never be afraid to utter the words "The Defense is ready."  

If you've been charged with DWI, contact my office for an appointment.  I will fight to clear your name and your reputation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.

I believe obstructing a highway is the least arrested yet most convicted of offense in Texas.

I have always advised my clients to accept. DWI convictions in Texas are perpetual and expensive.