Was in county court Monday; placed on year of probation

Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

Justice of the Peace Precinct One Alonzo Villarreal was sentenced to one year of probation Monday, after entering a guilty plea to charges of reckless driving.

Villarreal entered the plea in Jim Wells County Court Monday before County Judge L. Arnoldo Saenz, after reaching an agreement with the county attorney's office. Villarreal was arrested by the Department of Public Safety on April 14, shortly after 12:30 a.m., after a trooper allegedly observed Villarreal violating several traffic laws.

Villarreal refused to take a field breath test, but in an interview after the arrest admitted he drank three beers before driving. He was initially charged with driving while intoxicated.

County Attorney Jesusa Sanchez-Vera said Monday she had agreed to reduce the charges to reckless driving after examining a video taken from the dashboard of the trooper's patrol car.

"Based on what I see, the facts of the case, I felt it was a just decision if I offered him reckless driving, in view of the video and the report that I have," Sanchez-Vera said. "Based on the facts and the video, I felt this was a fair resolution to his DWI arrest."

Under the terms of the agreement, Villarreal pleaded guilty to reckless driving, a Class B Misdemeanor, and was sentenced to one year of probation. He will also be required to pay $824 in fines and court costs. He is also required to meet with his probation officer once a month.

Should Villarreal violate the terms of that probation during the next year, he could be sentenced to up to 180 days in the county jail.

Villarreal was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in 1992, but was found not guilty of those charges by a jury, Sanchez-Vera said.

Villarreal was unavailable for comment Monday.