Los Angeles Prosecutors Charge Nicole Richie With DUI

Friday, February 16th 2007, 9:29 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Nicole Richie was charged Friday with misdemeanor driving under the influence.

In addition to the single count, the case contains an allegation that Richie had a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction in June 2003, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

The California vehicle code specifies that if convicted of DUI twice within 10 years, a person can be sentenced to between 90 days and a year in jail, fined between $390 and $1,000, and have driving privileges suspended.

The complaint alleges Richie was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and an unspecified drug when she was arrested Dec. 11, said prosecution spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.

Arraignment was scheduled for Feb. 21 in suburban Glendale Superior Court. Richie, who starred in the TV reality show ``The Simple Life'' with Paris Hilton, does not have to appear because it is a misdemeanor case.

Richie's attorney, Howard L. Weitzman, said he had not yet reviewed the complaint.

``Nicole will deal with these charges in the appropriate forum,'' he said in an e-mailed statement.

Richie, 25, was arrested after 911 callers reported her car headed the wrong way on a freeway in Burbank about 12:30 a.m. She was found alone in her SUV, stopped in a car-pool lane.

Richie was arrested after she failed a field sobriety test, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP Officer Todd Workman said at the time that Richie, the daughter of pop singer Lionel Richie, volunteered information that she had smoked marijuana and taken the prescription painkiller Vicodin, but no drugs were found on her or in the car.

Last month, Hilton pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving stemming from her Sept. 7 arrest in Hollywood and was sentenced to 36 months probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines. That case was reduced from an original charge of driving under the influence.