A Travis County deputy took Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg away in handcuffs on the morning of April 19 to serve a 45-day jail sentence after she pleaded guilty to Class A misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.
Travis County Court-at-Law No. 8 Judge Carlos Barrera also imposed a $4,000 fine and suspended her driver’s license for 180 days.
Lehmberg’s lawyer, David Sheppard, says DWI is normally a Class B misdemeanor, but Lehmberg’s charge was enhanced because her blood alcohol content was 0.23. A 2011 law allows the enhancement to a Class A misdemeanor if a defendant’s BAC is more than 0.15.
Sheppard says other lawyers in the DA’s office will run the office while Lehmberg is in jail, just as they do when she is on "vacation."
"She served this county for 35 years as a valuable public servant. She runs probably the best district attorney’s office in the State of Texas, if not the nation. This is a terrible mistake on her part, but it really should not override the fact she has served the citizens of this county so well for so long," says Sheppard.
He added, "She has accepted responsibility. She has taken the harshest punishment anybody has ever had for this type of offense, and has walked into that jail voluntarily."
Lehmberg was arrested for DWI on April 12 after a man called 911 to report a vehicle driving erratically on F.M. 620. A Travis County deputy completed an arrest affidavit noting, among other things, that Lehmberg smelled like alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and staggered when walking. There was an open bottle of vodka in the passenger area and Lehmberg admitted to drinking two vodka drinks. [See "Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg Charged With DWI," April 15, 2013.]