AUSTIN (KXAN) - As Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is preparing to face the court system herself, legal analysts say this case could have an impact on future DWI cases.
Lehmberg was arrested Friday night around 10:45 on DWI charges. Travis County sheriff's deputies pulled over the 63-year-old on FM 620 in West Austin. Witnesses tell us she was swerving on the road and driving in the shoulder. Lehmberg bonded out of jail Saturday morning, but the legal implications could continue.
Lehmberg has indicated she will plead guilty to the DWI charges. She's also said she doesn't plan to resign as district attorney. The DA is the top law enforcement official in the county, and analysts believe this could have some real implications on similar cases.
Legal analyst Adam Loewy, who has no connection to the case, says he thinks County Attorney David Escamilla likely with come up with a plea deal.
"I believe it should be a fairly harsh plea. I believe there needs to be a message sent to the community that drinking and driving is unacceptable, especially when you are in a position of power like District Attorney Lehmberg is," Loewy said.
Loewy says if Lehmberg isn't given due punishment, it could not only send the wrong message but set the tone.
"I believe you will see a lot of trials, where defense lawyers, when defending drunk-driving defendants, will say, 'Look, my client is just like the district attorney. They both made a mistake. They both drank and drive,'" Loewy said.
Lehmberg was re-elected Travis County district attorney in November 2012. Her term runs through the end of 2016.
In-Depth: Removal of a district attorney
Texas Local Government Code spells out what would qualify in the removal of a district attorney or other local elected official.
- official misconduct
- intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage
Any resident of Travis County can initiate a removal process -- which is lengthy. If Lehmberg stepped down or was removed, Republican Gov. Rick Perry would name her successor.
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