Country music superstar and Tioga landowner Randy Travis pleaded guilty Thursday to a Class A misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated and received a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail probated for two years, and a 30-day stay in an in-patient treatment facility.
Travis, 53, quietly answered questions for Grayson County Court-at-Law 1 Judge James Henderson in the West Courtroom at the Grayson County Courthouse. He then sat quietly while his attorney Larry Freeman and Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown debated destroying a Texas Department of Public Safety video that showed a naked Travis interacting with troopers on Aug. 7. Troopers found Travis in the road near a wreck at FM 922 and Clover Road, just outside of Tioga.
A statement from Brown’s office said police determined Travis had crashed his car in a construction area. “Troopers determined he was intoxicated at the scene. Travis was belligerent at the scene and during transport to a local hospital, but did not make physical contact with any responders,” Brown said.
In court, Travis’ attorney argued that the tape of that interaction between Travis and the troopers might be subject to public scrutiny as it could be requested from officials under the Freedom of Information Act. He said release of the tape would violate Travis’ rights to privacy.
Brown argued that he used the tape to decide not to charge Travis with a felony count of retaliation. Brown said Travis’ status as a celebrity might make people think he was not charged with the felony based something other than the evidence in the case. If the evidence were destroyed, Brown said, he would have no way to prove what he used to make his decision. Additionally, Brown said that if Travis were to fail to complete the terms of his probation, Brown’s office would need the tape to prosecute Travis.
In a document called findings of fact and conclusions of law, Henderson said all copies of the tape and transcripts of the tape should be destroyed except the one held by Brown’s office. Brown should keep his copy, Henderson said, until such time as Brown no longer needs it to prosecute any crime. He should then destroy the material. Henderson also forbade Brown to release the tape or transcript to anyone.
Brown said he was happy with outcome of the case.
“We feel it was appropriate in these circumstances,” he said. He added that Travis’ punishment was more stern than that received by most first time DWI defendants.
“First time DWI defendants are rarely forced into in-patient treatment,” Brown said. “He will be unable to leave the facility for 30 days. His fine and community service requirements (100 hours) are more than double what is usually received, and his probation term is the maximum available, and longer than the usual 18 months. All of that is appropriate in light of his behavior with the officers.”
Under the plea agreement, Travis must also have an ignition interlock device placed on any vehicle he drives for the two years he is on probation.