Obstructing a highway or other passageway in Texas is generally a class b misdemeanor. Until recently we generally saw the charge of obstructing a highway as an alternative charge for driving while intoxicated.
However, with today’s environment people who are protesting are being charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway. Even if you are not taken into custody, but you receive a ticket for this charge, take it very seriously. It is not like a traffic ticket and it may affect you for the rest of your life.
Criminal Charge for Obstruction of Highway
You can be charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway if you without permission intentionally, knowingly or recklessly:
- 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 persons, vehicles, or conveyances, regardless of the means of creating the obstruction and whether the obstruction arises from your acts alone or from your acts and the acts of others; or
- You disobey a reasonable request or order to move issued by a person you know to be or are informed to be a peace officer, a fireman, or a person with authority to control the use of the premises.
Police will use this authority to remove protestors. For example, you are attending peaceful protest. You are moving with a large group of people. They lead you into an area where there is not permission to protest. You can be arrested.
The police may or may not give you a warning. If you do not know if the area is permitted for the protest, get out. Don’t take a chance of being arrested. If you are arrested, contact an attorney immediately. A class b misdemeanor could cost you your job and the ability to even get credit or an apartment.