On August 14th, former Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Kattan was sentenced to three years probation for driving under the influence and crashing into a Department of Transportation vehicle this past February in Southern California.
Kattan, 43, made an open plea in court on the misdemeanor DUI charge. He was ordered to attend a three-month alcohol education program, 104 Narcotics Anonymous meetings and ordered not to drive with any drugs in his system that were not prescribed by a doctor, as stated to Los Angeles Daily News by City Attorney representative Frank Mateljan.
A restitution hearing will be held September 16th to determine the damages owed by Kattan regarding the DOT vehicle. This fee will be in addition to a $500 fine he was ordered to pay during his sentencing.
Kattan was arrested around 2am on February 10th on the 101 Freeway near Encino, CA. According to California Highway Patrol, Kattan was slowly weaving across the freeway when he drove through construction cones and collided with a DOT vehicle. No workers were hurt at the time of the crash.
After his arrest, Kattan wrote on Twitter: “I just got back from a 15hr flight after touring out of the country. I was exhausted. The police were so kind. I’m lucky nobody was hurt.”
According to TMZ, law officials stated Kattan had been driving after taking Ambien, which is a prescription medication used to treat insomnia and some brain disorders.
Kattan is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live; he worked on the sketch comedy program from 1996 until 2003. His noted characters include “Mango” and Doug Butabi, one half of the Butabi Brothers. The sketch lead to 1998 feature film A Night at the Roxbury.
Kattan most recently worked on ABC sitcom The Middle and was a contestant on Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
Singer Justin Bieber’s attorneys have accepted a plea deal in his Miami DUI case from January 2014.
Bieber, 20, was taken into custody early this year on charges of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest without violence. Prosecutors dropped the drunken driving charge when Bieber agreed to careless driving and resisting arrest.
Bieber did not attend the court hearing. His attorneys agreed the singer will attend 12 hours of anger management classes and donate $50,000 to charity. Bieber will also attend classes that teach about the effects of drunk driving and how it impacts victims, according to CNN. The charitable donation was not legally required in his plea agreement, so it was made previous to the judge’s acceptance.
“I hope that he realizes that his actions not only lead to consequences that affect him, but they lead to consequences that affect others who are looking up to him as a role model,” said Judge William Altfield at the August 13th hearing.
The case is said to have several problems, including the arresting officer’s false report that Bieber was racing rapper Khalil topping out at 60 mph. The officer also stated he could smell alcohol on the singer’s breath, yet Bieber’s blood alcohol level registered at .014. According to TMZ, Bieber maintained he was not drunk at the scene, but police state he failed a field sobriety test.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle: “The strengths and weaknesses of the case motivated everyone to seek this appropriate resolution. The ultimate purpose of the Miami Beach Police Department’s initial traffic stop was to end some rash, juvenile-type conduct before a tragedy occurred.”
Bieber, a Canadian citizen, can face “possible immigration consequences of accepting [the plea] agreement…The Immigration and Naturalization Service will consider this conviction in any deportation decision,” according to the written deal.
This plea follows several previous legal incidents, including assault, vandalism, and alleged possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
By Mary Ann Gorman
After being arrested on March 1st for a DUI in New Zealand, Chris Pines has plead guilty to the charge.
Pines had been at a wrap party for his newest movie, Z for Zachariah, just before his arrest. Pines admitted to having 4 drinks and registered a .11 percent when his blood alcohol level was tested.
Pine’s punishment is a 6-month suspension of his New Zealand driver’s license and a $93 fine, which is about $79 US dollars.
By Mary Ann Gorman
Back in April of 2012, Amanda Bynes was facing a driving under the influence charge in Los Angeles after side swiping an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department cruiser.
The charge was lowered to a wet reckless driving charge, which is a lesser offense. Wet reckless is a common plea bargain in DUI cases, mainly for offenders with a very strong defense, and often first time offenders.
In court on Monday, Bynes, via her attorney, entered a peal of no-contest to the reduced charge.
The sentence attached to this plea in Bynes’ case is three months of alcohol-education classes and three years probation.
By Mary Ann Gorman
Chris Kattan, from “A Night at the Roxbury” and “Saturday Night Live” was charged with a DUI Monday night near Van Nuys, California.
On Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, Kattan’s car crashed into a highway construction truck.
Kattan failed field sobriety tests and was charged with a DUI. He was released without bail and will appear in court next month. This is his first offense.
On his Twitter account, Kattan posted Monday afternoon, “Those concerned or just adding gossip: I’m fine, passed all tests, released without bail, have drivers license, cop offered to drive me home”
By John Clark
The son of indicted former football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested for drunk driving in Fargo, North Dakota, last month, according to a report from ESPN.
Sources say the son, Jon Sandusky, who is an executive with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, pleaded guilty in court to refusing to take a breathalyzer test after he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.
This plea, sources say, is not the same as admitting guilty to the drunk driving charge, and thus if Sandusky is able to steer clear of legal trouble for a while, the charge will likely be dropped from his record. The DUI charge was also dismissed.
The 36-year-old football executive, however, received a suspended sentence this week in Fargo Municipal Court, and will have to serve an unsupervised probation, as well as complete a chemical dependency evaluation, according to his local DUI attorney.
According to his DUI attorney, Sandusky is “genuinely sorry for the incident,” and “takes full responsibility for his actions and he’s glad to put this matter behind him.”
The director of player personnel for the Cleveland football team was reportedly pulled over by police for making an illegal turn on a downtown street. According to the police report, Sandusky crossed over three lanes of traffic to make a dangerous turn.
Police suspected the son of Jerry Sandusky was intoxicated when they had him take a series of field sobriety tests. And a Browns source said the executive has been disciplined by the team, in addition to his criminal punishment.
Sources speculate that Sandusky was in North Dakota to scout football players from the team at North Dakota State, which reportedly has several players that are regarded as professional prospects. The athletic department at the school, however, did not comment on Sandusky’s arrest.
According to reports, Jon Sandusky has served as Cleveland’s director of player personnel for four years after working for the Philadelphia Eagles for nine years. His job is to scout college prospects and available NFL players. He also played safety at Penn State under the tutelage of his now infamous father from 1996 to 1999.
Sandusky has had a difficult year after watching his father, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, go through a lengthy and disturbing trial. Recently, Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys and is currently serving a prison sentence that could last as long as 60 years.
By John Clark
The National Basketball Association has suspended New Jersey Nets head coach Jason Kidd for two games, according to a report from the Associated Press. The suspension stems from Kidd’s drunk driving arrest this spring.
According to sources, Kidd crashed into a utility pole on Long Island on July 15, 2012, shortly after being named the head coach of the Nets less than a year after retiring from basketball.
After he struck the pole, police suspected that he was under the influence of alcohol, and a series of blood alcohol tests showed that Kidd was indeed driving while intoxicated. The accident also prompted Kidd to be treated at a hospital for minor injuries, sources say.
When his case was up for trial, Kidd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. He filed his guilty plea after finishing his court-mandated community service. The service helped him reduce his crime to driving while ability impaired, which is a lesser offense in New York.
In response to Kidd’s guilty plea, the NBA suspended him for the first two games of the season, which include a road game at Cleveland and a home game against the Miami Heat, widely regarded as the best team in the league. Kidd is eligible to return to the team for its game at Orlando on November 3.
And the team does not plan to challenge the suspension. According to Nets general manager Billy King, the decision was “consistent with what the league has done in the past.” King also said the team was looking forward “to Jason leading our team versus Orlando and the rest of the year.”
After a recent team practice at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Kidd acknowledged that he and everyone else knew the suspension “was going to come at some point,” according to reports.
“You have to be responsible and the league came down with the suspension, and I accept that. If a player’s out, guys have got to step up. … My coaching staff is more than capable of stepping up,” said Kidd while talking to reporters.
Sources say Kidd has yet to pick an assistant to fill his void during the two games, but his top assistant is Lawrence Frank, and he is expected to take the reins, as he has had several lengthy stints as a head coach in the NBA.
In the meantime, Kidd will continue to serve his punishment for his crime. But thanks to a $500 fine, a 90-day license suspension, and several lectures to Long Island high school students about the dangers of drunk driving, Kidd has paid his debt to the criminal court system.
By John Clark
After her DUI attorney made an unusual request, a California judge has agreed to move the DUI trial of former child star Amanda Bynes to a mental health court, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Sources say Bynes was arrested for a DUI in April 2012 after she allegedly drove into a sheriff deputy’s police cruiser while trying to speed past in the middle of the night in Los Angeles.
The drunk driving accident in April came on the heels of several car-related troubles experienced by Bynes while she lived in Los Angeles. The actress reportedly moved to New York recently.
In addition to the car troubles, Bynes also acted in a bizarre fashion for several months, as her strange diatribes on Twitter made her a growing target for gossip magazines.
But what first appeared as a celebrity going through growing pains eventually turned much darker. In July, Bynes reportedly lit a small fire in the driveway of a house in Thousand Oaks, California.
After this incident, authorities placed Bynes in involuntary psychiatric custody for a sentence of 72 hours. But after three days passed, authorities believed that Bynes was not ready to leave the facility, and she reportedly spent nearly a year in custody, sources say.
Of course, while Bynes appears to have serious psychiatric issues that will require extensive treatment, she also has practical legal concerns to deal with, including her pending DUI trial.
But Bynes may have caught a break after her DUI attorney successfully argued that she was incapable of understanding the proceedings brought against her, which makes her eligible to move the case to mental health court.
This court, however, is simply tasked with determining her “competency to stand trial,” according to her DUI attorney. If Bynes is found competent to stand trial, she will likely be placed back in a regular state court for her DUI case.
Her recent behavior, however, does suggest that she may be experiencing a sort of psychiatric breakdown, which could lead to a determination that she is unfit to stand trial for her DUI charges. Her next scheduled court date is not scheduled to take place until this January.
In the meantime, Bynes’ mother, who has won a temporary conservatorship over her daughter, will continue to manage her daughter’s personal finances and make important decisions for her, reports indicate. She likely hopes that this difficult task will not last in perpetuity.
By John Clark
Thomas Ravenel, the former treasurer of South Carolina worth millions of dollars, was arrested and charged with drunk driving this week in New York, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Sources say the 50-year-old land developer was arrested at 2:30 in the morning in East Hampton Village after police saw him crossing a double yellow line and driving on the shoulder of Montauk Highway.
When the arresting officer first encountered Ravenel, he reportedly smelled alcohol on his breath, and said he was “unsteady on his feet.”
The police report also says that Ravenel failed a number of field sobriety tests before refusing to take a breathalyzer test, according to sources.
In a statement released shortly after the arrest, Ravenel said he had indeed been drinking on the night in question but that he was not intoxicated. He was released on a $650 bond and intends to fight the charges, according to his statement.
Sources report that the potential drunk driving started a term as South Carolina’s state treasurer in 2007, but resigned after being in office for only six months.
The resignation was particularly interesting because it came on the heels of Ravenel’s guilty plea on charges of buying cocaine. After his conviction, Ravenel served a 10 month sentence in prison, sources report.
The arrest seemed to spell the end of Ravenel’s political career, which had been aided by his father’s stint in the U.S. Congress a few decades ago, but reportedly plans to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham in the 2014 election, sources speculate.
And Ravenel’s unique experiences with the law have apparently colored his political views, making the multimillionaire an unlikely spokesperson for drug law reform.
This week, he said in a statement that he “never believed recreational drug use within one’s home to be something worthy of criminalization,” according to sources. He did, however, also note that he took responsibility for his past drug crime.
In addition, during the 2012 presidential debates, Ravenel said his prison sentence for recreational drug use made him a strong opponent of the government’s “war on drugs,” and cited his opposition to current drug laws as a reason for his endorsement of Republican Ron Paul, sources say.
So while Ravenel’s recent troubles with the law seem to spell doom for his political future, the former state treasurer seems savvy enough to spin them into positives. Of course, it may be harder for him to gain forgiveness for his DUI, which certainly isn’t a victimless crime.
By John Clark
Joe Morgan, a veteran wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, was arrested in Jefferson Parish this weekend for driving under the influence, according to a report from NBC Sports.
Sources say the 25-year-old NFL player was charged with a DWI and driving without a license, according to local police reports.
The incident occurred in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when a witness called police to report a stalled car on a local expressway.
When the responding officer arrived at the scene of the disabled car, which was resting on the shoulder of the highway, he found Morgan behind the wheel, and the football player was allegedly asleep.
The officer gave Morgan a rude awakening, and asked him to step out of the car. When Morgan stumbled out of his vehicle, he reportedly appeared drunk, as he had difficulty staying upright and had bloodshot eyes.
When Morgan took the field sobriety test, he didn’t offer the officer any proof that he was sober, so the police official arrested the wide receiver and transported him to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, according to sources.
The officer’s instincts proved correct, as Morgan reportedly blew a .218 during his breathalyzer test. This blood alcohol level is more than twice the legal limit in Louisiana, sources say.
To make matters worse, Morgan does not have a valid driver’s license, which will only heighten his legal troubles, and could lead to a larger fine or a longer jail sentence, depending on the unique circumstances of Morgan’s arrest.
And while Morgan has a long road ahead as he attempts to clear his name, he was able to leave jail later that day after posting a $1,150 bond, according to reports.
Morgan’s arrest comes after a relatively quiet spell for the NFL, which has had numerous players arrested for drunk driving over the last 12 months. League officials have grown concerned that the spate of arrests could diminish the league’s popularity.
But professional football remains the most popular sport in the United States, and fans seem willing to look past such incidents.
Sources say Morgan is expected to be his team’s third-best receiver this year, and is coming off a successful season in which he scored three touchdowns.
The young receiver took an uncommon route to NFL success, as he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Saints in 2011. When contacted by reporters, both Morgan and a team spokesman declined to comment on his recent arrest.
By John Clark
Reese Witherspoon dropped a few points in the race for America’s Sweetheart this weekend after she was booked for disorderly conduct following her husband’s DUI arrest, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Sources say the Oscar-winning actress was in the passenger seat of a Ford Focus when her husband, Jim Toth, was pulled over by Atlanta police after they saw Toth driving on the wrong side of the road.
When police saw Toth, they suspected he was driving under the influence of alcohol, and promptly arrested Witherspoon’s husband, a high-powered Hollywood agent.
The night, however, was far from over for Witherspoon, who may soon have to reprise her role as the sharp attorney she portrayed in “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde,” a harrowing tale of greed, lust, and political intrigue.
According to reports, Witherspoon was less than delighted with her husband’s troubles, and started “mouthing off” to the arresting officers.
While Toth took a field sobriety test, Witherspoon, who remained seated in the vehicle, reportedly “stated that she was a ‘U.S. citizen’ and that she was allowed to ‘stand on American ground,’” according to the police report.
As Witherspoon embarked on her soliloquy, her husband was failing a Breathalyzer test, as reports indicate that he had a blood alcohol content of .139, which is well above the legal limit.
But the night continued to devolve for the successful actress, who continued to pester officers by asking if they knew who she was. According to the police report, she told the officers they would soon “found out who I am” and would find themselves on the “national news.”
Witherspoon’s prediction proved accurate, as the police officers did find themselves part of a national news story, but the focus of the tale has been on Witherspoon’s odd behavior, not the arrest itself.
After verbally abusing the officers, Witherspoon was charged with disorderly conduct, and she and her husband were briefly jailed before they posted bond early Saturday morning, according to sources.
Sources say Witherspoon and Toth were in Atlanta to start filming for their independent movie, “The Good Lie.”
And to offer further proof that Witherspoon lives a charmed life, she reportedly flew to New York after her release from jail to see the premier of her new movie, “Mud.”
At the premiere, however, Witherspoon wisely refused to talk to reporters, who were undoubtedly curious about her adventurous weekend.
By John Clark
Kevin Hart, an actor and comedian known for his high energy level on stage, was arrested this week on suspicion of drunk driving in Los Angeles, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Sources say Kart was arrested for a DUI after his Mercedes almost crashed into a tanker truck on Highway 101, the famed coastal freeway that runs the length of California.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs, Hart looked drunk when police pulled him over, and he allegedly failed a field sobriety test administered by the arresting officers.
The failure to complete a field sobriety test does not necessarily spell doom in the courtroom for Hart, or any other defendant, but it certainly gave the officers enough probably cause to arrest the comedian.
Sources report that Hart posted a $5,000 bond and was released from jail Sunday after spending a few hours in police custody. He has been charged with a misdemeanor DUI, which carries a potential penalty of jail time, a fine, or a suspended license.
According to sources, Hart had a female passenger in his car at the time of the arrest. Police sent her home in a taxi after taking Hart into custody.
Officers decided to accost Hart’s car after he was driving “erratically at over 90 mph and nearly slammed into a gas tanker.”
Following the incident, Hart took an important step towards rehabilitating his public image by issuing a sincere apology on his Twitter account.
According to sources, Hart said drinking and driving is “not a laughing matter” and acknowledged that many people “have lost lives because of” similarly “stupid” actions.
The comedian, whose career took off over the past few years, admitted that his arrest was a “wake-up call” and said that he has “to be smarter” in the future.
Hart’s career breakthrough came in 2011, when he starred in his own standup special, “Laugh at My Pain.” Since then, Hart has acted in several movies, appeared in the television show “Undeclared,” and hosted “Saturday Night Live.”
And Hart can take comfort knowing that several comedians before him have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and seen their careers continue to flourish.
Multiple DUI offenses, however, can lead to lengthy prison sentences, so Hart knows that his margin for error on the streets of Los Angeles has now been reduced to a great degree.
All grown up now, several child and teen stars from the ’90s have been arrested for DUI. Who has more celebrity DUI arrests: boys or girls?
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- Taran Noah Smith
- Best Known for: Mark Taylor (the youngest brother), Home Improvement
- Arrested in February 2012
- Haley Joel Osment
- Best Known for: The Sixth Sense
- Arrested in August 2006
- Nick Carter
- Best Known for: Backstreet Boys
- Arrested in March 2005
- Lindsay Lohan
- Best Known for: The Parent Trap
- Arrested in May 2007
- Arrested for a second DUI in July 2007
- Amanda Bynes
- Best Known for: All That, The Amanda Show
- Arrested in April 2012
- Danielle Fishel
- Best Known for: Boy Meets World
- Arrested in December 2007
- Tracey Gold
- Best Known for: Growing Pains
By John Clark
In upsetting news for his fans, rapper Too Short was officially arrested for a DUI and drug possession this week in Hollywood, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Sources say the 46-year-old entertainer, who was born Todd Anthony Shaw, was taken to jail around 3 a.m. after being arrested on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
According to sources, Too Short briefly attempted to run from police before he was captured, which is the cardinal sin of drunk driving arrests. If this report is true, Too Short could also face potential charges for resisting arrest.
Sources note that the original DUI incident happened a few weeks ago, when he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Police also reported that Too Short had meth in the back seat of his car.
So, in addition to four misdemeanor counts of drunk driving, Too Short faces the potential of a felony drug charge, which could have posed a much more significant jail sentence.
Sources claim, however, that the city attorney is only charging Too Short with the four misdemeanor charges, because the amount of meth discovered by police wasn’t enough to warrant a felony charge.
The absence of a felony charge will simplify the rapper’s defense against the DUI charges, but four misdemeanor counts could still result in significant jail time, a suspended driver’s license, or a large fine.
And Too Short could also be facing possible punishment for a shooting on the Las Vegas Strip that ended in the death of Kenny Clutch, a rapper based in Oakland, and two other victims.
The shooting caused a fatal car crash that blocked a portion of the Las Vegas Strip for several hours and gained international media coverage.
But police have not been able to connect Too Short to the shooting and car crash, and Too Short recently dismissed the rumors of his involvement on his Facebook page, where he wrote that he had “no knowledge or connection” to the incident.
Too Short has been the target of much controversy during his career, but is widely considered to be one of the primary innovators of West Coast hip hop, according to sources.
Too Short, who was born in Los Angeles but was raised in Oakland, has released several massive singles over the past few years, including “The Ghetto,” “Burn Rubber,” and “Blow the Whistle.”
But the music success has been tempered by legal issues. In 2009, Too Short was arrested twice for drunk driving in separate incidents in Las Vegas. And in 2010, the rapper was arrested for battery after n incident following a concert in Idaho.
By John Clark
Singer Bobby Brown will only spend a few days in jail after being convicted of a DUI, but he will have to wear an ankle bracelet for several weeks so the court can monitor his movements, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
According to sources, Brown pleaded no contest to a DUI charge in February, his second such charge in 2012, and was sentenced to 55 days in jail during a hearing this week.
The county jail, however, has a surplus of inmates, so jail officials expect Brown to only spend about nine days behind bars. Upon his release, however, Brown will be outfitted with an electronic ankle bracelet, sources say.
Brown, who was also sentenced to four years of probation, will not be allowed to leave his home while he serves his jail sentence, and must also complete an alcohol treatment program that is expected to last a year and half.
The singer, who was once married to the now-deceased Whitney Houston, was initially arrested in March 2012 for driving under the influence of alcohol, sources say.
Reports indicate that police initially pulled Brown over after spotting him talking on his cellphone while driving, which is prohibited in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
But just a few months after his March arrest, Brown was arrested for drunk driving a second time that October. The second arrest led the judge to inflate Brown’s already serious sentence.
Some media outlets have speculated that Brown received favorable treatment due to his celebrity status, but it is not uncommon for judges to sentence defendants to house arrest after multiple DUI convictions.
Prison overcrowding is a serious issue in many states, as legislators continue to inflate sentences for a wide range of crimes so judges often prefer to let non-violent offenders serve out their jail sentences elsewhere.
In addition, thanks to his four-year probationary sentence, any slip-ups by Brown in the near future could lead to a dramatically higher sentence, as well as a hefty fine, and a potential long-term suspension of his driving license.
Sources also note that Brown’s only allowed trips outside his home while he serves his “jail” sentence will be mandatory visits to Alcoholic’s Anonymous three times a week.
So the court is hopeful that Brown will be able to clean up his act. If not, the sentences for Brown’s DUI convictions will only grow more severe.