Things rarely move quickly in the criminal justice system. But when you are the county’s top law enforcement official, like District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is to Travis County, you may get a little expeditious treatment.
Lehmberg was just arrested for drunk driving last weekend, and less than a week later she has leaded guilty and been sentenced, a process that usually takes weeks or even months.
According to initial reports after her arrest, concerned citizens phoned law enforcement when they saw a Lexus weaving in and out of its lane late Friday night. Lehmberg was found sitting in her vehicle in a church parking lot, intoxicated with an open bottle of vodka by her side.
In the days following her arrest, details were extremely limited, far scarcer than they would be if she was just some woman off the streets. Arresting officers offered conflicting information on her demeanor at the time of arrest, calling her cooperative but cocky and insulting too. But those officers may have been putting it quite mildly.
Since then, more information has come out saying that Lehmberg was screaming curse words and being combative. She had to be put in a restraint chair in an isolation room. A spit guard was fastened to her face to keep her from spitting on her jailers.
Apparently wanting to put the incident behind her as quickly as possible, Lehmberg pleaded guilty this Friday to a Class A misdemeanor (her BAC was .23, making her extremely intoxicated) and accepted a sentence that included 45 days in jail.
Lehmberg has apologized for the incident and has said she has no intentions on leaving her job. But others might make her tenure quite difficult.
According to Texas law, any citizen can petition for the removal of a district attorney when they have been found to be intoxicated either on or off duty. A former assistant state attorney general and administrative law judge for the Texas Workforce Commission filed such a petition this week, according to the Dallas Morning News.
What price Lehmberg ultimately pays for her DUI will remain to be seen. But her speedy trip through the courts may not be enough to put the entire thing behind her. On the contrary, the entire incident has thrust the public official into center stage.
When you are accused of DUI or another serious offense, you don’t get special treatment in the courts. But you do have rights. Contact our offices today to discuss the nature of your charges and how we might be able to help.