Wichita County Commissioner sentenced after found guilty of DWI

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County Commissioner Jeff Watts has been sentenced to 14 months probation after a judge found him guilty of driving while intoxicated.

Watts appeared before Judge Greg King in the Wichita County Court At Law #2 on Wednesday, June 30, where a plea deal was accepted.

The plea agreement Watts reached called for a 180-day jail sentence, an $800 fine and $370 in court costs.

Judge King suspended the jail sentence to 14 months of probation.

The terms of Watts’ probation sentence are as follows:

  • $800 fine
  • Ignition interlock on his vehicle for one year
  • 60 hours of community service
  • Required to attend DWI offender education course at Vernon College
  • Submit a drug and alcohol evaluation through the probation department

In a statement from the Wichita County District Attorney’s office, a special prosecutor was requested due to Watts’ position on the Wichita County Commissioners Court.

Gina Morgan, a veteran intoxication prosecutor from Denton County, served as special prosecutor and was given complete discretion in evaluating and handling the case, according to the statement.

The statement from the district attorney’s office said it was not involved in the negotiation of the plea bargain, and that the sentence is in-line for what other similar DWI first-time offenders receive in Wichita County and across Texas.

The statement also said though the law permits deferred probations for DWI, this is a final conviction and not deferred.

The precinct four commissioner was arrested after allegedly hitting a post pulling into the Wichita County Annex north of Electra.

At the crash scene, a DPS trooper said there was a strong odor of alcohol in the cab and open beer cans. The trooper says Watts had alcohol on his breath and his speech was slurred.

If convicted under this new charge, watts could face up to a year in jail and have his driver’s license suspended for up to two years. He could also have to pay a fine up to $4,000.

Commissioner Watts released the following statement:

“After my accident in February, I accepted full responsibility for the serious mistake I made and continue to do so today. I very much appreciate all the thoughtful actions and prayers conveyed to me by so many of my friends and constituents. This morning I plead guilty to the charge in front of Judge King and will now begin working to fulfill all of the probation terms and community service. I am ready to face the consequences of my plea and look forward to moving forward. Again, I could not have made it through this difficult situation in my life without the support of those around me. It is truly more appreciated than I can express.”

Jeff Watts, Wichita County Commissioner, Pct 4

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