You are charged with DWI. You look good on the video, you refuse to blow, and you have no record. The State offers you a plea bargain in which they will dismiss the DWI if you plead guilty to Obstructing a Highway.
What is obstructing a highway?
OAH is a class B misdemeanor in Texas. It is the same level of offense as a DWI but lacks the $1,000+ driver’s license tax upon conviction. It is also the most frequently pled to charge in a DWI case, other than DWI.
Is OAH really a crime?
Sure. Here is the Texas Penal Code
§ 42.03. OBSTRUCTING HIGHWAY OR OTHER PASSAGEWAY.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without legal privilege or authority, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
(1) obstructs 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 his acts alone or from his acts and the acts of others; or
So people actually plead guilty to OAH to escape a DWI charge?
Yes. However, DWI is NOT a lesser included offense for DWI. That means the State is not barred from charging you with DWI after you plead guilty to OAH. I have never seen a prosecutor who would actually go back on an OAH/DWI plea agreement and not dismiss a DWI charge. It could happen though.
OAH is easily the least arrested for, yet most convicted for offense in Texas. I’ve never seen an actual arrest for OAH. I’ve seen dozens of guilty pleas for OAH.
Can my DWI be changed to OAH?
It’s a very case by case situation. Some DA’s ban the practice. Some limit it to the first time DWI offenders. I’ve seen OAH happen on the day of trial or pre trial, or during a regular plea bargain discussion.