Kiefer Sutherland Pleads No Contest In DUI Case

Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 7:45 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Kiefer Sutherland pleaded no contest Tuesday in his drunken driving case to ensure the star of Fox's ``24'' could avoid a lengthy jail sentence, his attorney and network officials said.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Sutherland will serve 30 days for driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent, his attorney Blair Berk said. The actor was not in the courtroom.

A second misdemeanor charge, driving under the influence, was dropped.

The charges stemmed from a traffic stop in Los Angeles last month.

As part of the arrangement, Sutherland must also enroll in an 18-month alcohol-education class and attend weekly alcohol-therapy sessions for six months.

Sutherland could face six months in jail for violating probation for a 2004 drunken driving arrest. Sentencing is set for Dec. 21, the same day the show begins its winter production break.

``I'm very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently, and I'm deeply sorry for the disappointment and distress this has caused my family, friends and co-workers on `24' and at 20th Century Fox,'' Sutherland said in a statement.

The actor's plea arrangement ensures that production of ``24'' will not be interrupted, Fox officials said in a statement.

``Kiefer made clear to us at the time of his arrest that his first concern was the welfare of those he worked with and that he intended to do whatever was necessary to prevent shutting down the show because of his situation,'' the statement said.

``He told us that even if he had to sacrifice more time in custody in order to protect the show and the jobs of those who work with him, he would do so. From what occurred today, it is evident he is a man of his word,'' it said.