By John Clark
Taran Noah Smith, the former child star who played Tim Allen’s youngest child on “Home Improvement,” was convicted this week for driving under the influence and drug possession, according to a report from the Huffington Post.
Sources say Smith was arrested back in February after police approached his vehicle when he was parked in front of a fire hydrant.
When the officers found Smith, they suspected that he was under the influence of marijuana due to the smell of the vehicle and promptly searched his car, which revealed that he had a significant amount of hash.
After discovering the drug, the police arrested the 28-year-old actor and charged him with a DUI and drug possession, according to sources.
In order to lighten his eventual sentence, Smith reported pleaded guilty to the charge of drug possession and “no contest” to the drunk driving charge. In most jurisdictions, a “no contest” plea carries the same weight as a guilty plea, but the defendant technically does not admit to his or her guilt.
By taking the plea bargain, Smith was likely given a lighter sentence. Sources say the former child star was sentenced to a six-month drug diversion program and three years of probation for the drug offense. For the DUI, he must complete a 12-hour education program.
Smith’s plight illustrates a common misconception about modern DUI laws. While drunk driving is the most common reason for a DUI, police officers can arrest people for driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana, as well.
And while the recent legalization of marijuana in a few states could complicated the enforcement of DUI drug laws, legislators remain steadfast in their disapproval of driving under the influence of pot.
This is a lesson Smith learned the hard way. Sources say, however, that this is the latest in a strong of troubling incidents for the child star, who has reportedly had long-term issues with drug abuse.
Smith became famous during the 1990′s when he played Mark on “Home Improvement.” The actor was only 7 years old when he first appeared on the show, and had a very public dispute with his parents over his earnings when he reached the age of majority.
In fact, Smith sued his parents in 2001 for allegedly wasting the money he earned on the show. The troubles he experienced during his acting career give a hint as to why Smith said it was “pretty exciting to leave it behind and do other things” when the hit show ended.