AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Driving While Intoxicated arrests within the Travis County District Attorney office this year have been handled in different, usually harsher, fashion that most first time offenses.
“It is highly unusual for a person to have an ignition-interlock device to be placed on their car for a first-time,” said DWI attorney Ken Gibson.
Prosecutor Brandon Grunewald was arrested Sunday and a magistrate judge ordered a breathalyzer be placed in his vehicle under terms of his bond.
A move Gibson thinks could be a result of Grunewald’s position.
“Probably the reason it was put on this time, the only thing I can figure out because this case isn’t different from any other we handle, is because a prosecutor in DA’s office was charged.”
Jail time is also rare for first-time offenders according to Gibson, but Lehmberg served 22 days for her arrest in April.
Like Lehmberg’s case, County Attorney David Escamilla will prosecute Grunewald.
Although he refused to give a breath test, Austin Police say a blood draw was performed and test results are pending.
First-time DWI arrests also do not normally result in termination according to Lehmberg who released the following statement on Tuesday:
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg today issued the following statement:
Assistant District Attorney Brandon Grunewald was arrested by Austin police on Sunday afternoon and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), a misdemeanor. Grunewald was involved in a collision. Currently there are no injuries reported from the collision.
Brandon Grunewald has served in the District Attorney’s Office for almost five years. His performance has been excellent.
The Travis County Attorney is handling the DWI case since it is his first arrest and therefore a misdemeanor. The District Attorney’s Office handles felony DWIs which result when individuals have been previously convicted of DWIs.
I met with Brandon yesterday to discuss the matter. He will work with his attorney over the next days to determine the best course to dispose of the case. Because the events are so recent, I informed Brandon that I would wait until all the facts are known before making any final decisions, but that it has not been our usual course to terminate an employee for first offense DWI.
In Texas, employers can fire employees for any reason unless it is illegal (gender, race discrimination, etc.)
Travis County employees in an elected office like the DA Office adhere to a different employee handbook than other county employees.
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