Each month Travis County court-at-law judges handle thousands of criminal cases. Judges say their average monthly caseload has increased 60 percent since 2002… Each county court currently has an average of 3,200 cases pending… In the last decade, the number of DWI cases has risen 135 percent.
DWI cases can backlog a system faster than any other type of misdemeanor, precisely because of the way we (as a society) handle them. Austin Police Department has, for all intents and purposes, moved towards an “arrest anyone with the odor of an alcoholic beverage on their breath” standard. The more questionable DWI arrests that are made, the more the innocent civilian decides he wants to take a case to trial – which causes the backlog.
The criminal justice system depends on plea bargaining most cases, or it will grind to a standstill. Practicing in these courts everyday, I can vouch for the need of at least one new court.