Criminal Justice

Prosecutor plans to stay in office despite DWI conviction, 45-day sentence

  • Print.

Corrected: A district attorney who pleaded guilty Friday to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to 45 days in jail has no intention of relinquishing her post.

Friends and colleagues of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg tell the Austin American-Statesman that her reasons are a mix of personal and political.

On the personal side, Lehmberg has been a driven career prosecutor for three decades. On the political side, the governor is called to replace vacant DA seats and Gov. Rick Perry would likely appoint a fellow Republican to the historically Democratic seat.

The paper notes that it’s unclear if Lehmberg will be able to keep her seat. Texas law allows prosecutors to be removed from office for drinking, though it’s a statute “rarely invoked,” according to the American-Statesman.

Still, Travis County is the home to the state’s public integrity unit and there may be public pressure for her to resign given emerging details about her conduct at booking. The Austin American-Statesman has posted edited video of Lehmberg’s booking, where she is seen as argumentative and resisting officers.

Lehmberg, who was pulled over with an open bottle of vodka in her car, is to have her license suspended for 180 days beginning in May, the American-Statesman reports. The district attorney’s office has issued a statement saying senior staff will run the office in Lehmberg’s absence.

Hat tip: The Crime Report

Last updated to make a correction, noting that Lehmberg is to have her driver’s license suspended in May.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.