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Washington’s criminal laws say that you commit a crime if you obstruct or delay the passage of any train car. The offense is a misdemeanor (as opposed to a felony) punishable by a maximum jail term of 90 days. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing a delaying a train charge.

What is Washington’s Law on Obstructing a Train?

RCW 81.48.020 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of obstructing a train. According to this law, you commit a criminal offense if you:

  1. Obstruct, hinder, or delay the passage of any train car, and
  2. Do so willfully or on purpose.

Note that you are only guilty of this crime if you acted “willfully.” This means you can try to contest an obstruction charge by showing that while you may have delayed a train, you did so by accident.

What are the Penalties?

A violation of RCW 81.48.020 is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted of the crime, you face the following penalties:

  1. Custody in county jail for up to 90 days, and/or
  2. A maximum fine of $1,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge an obstruction of a train charge with a legal defense. A common defense is to show that your actions were not willful. Recall that you are only guilty of this crime if you delayed or obstructed a train on purpose. This means you are not guilty of a crime if you accidentally hindered a train car.

You can also contest a charge by showing that an emergency necessitated you to commit the offense. Consider, for example, the scenario where you obstructed a train, perhaps while racing your car through a railroad crossing on your way to a hospital. If you drove as such because of an emergency situation, you will likely not be charged with a crime.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge an obstruction of a train charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various misdemeanor charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!