July 20, 2012

Bobby Brown Pleads no Contest to Misdemeanor Drunk Driving Charge

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By guest-writer

After pleading no contest last week to a misdemeanor DUI charge, singer Bobby Brown was sentenced to three years of probation by a Los Angeles County judge, according to a recent report from the Los Angeles Times.

Brown will not have to spend any time in jail after his arrest last month for drunk driving, and will have to pay a fine of $390. In addition, Brown will have to attend a 90-day alcohol education program according to prosecutors from the city attorney’s office.

The famous singer had been arrested March 26 in Los Angeles after a California Highway Patrol officer saw him talking on his cell phone while driving, which is not allowed in the City of Angels.

After police pulled him over, they suspected that Brown was intoxicated, and asked him to perform a field sobriety test. Much to his chagrin, Brown apparently failed the test, and was promptly taken into police custody.

Sources say that Tiffany Feder offered her services as a DUI attorney to Brown, who arrest came only four days after the Los Angeles County coroner’s office released their findings about the cause of Whitney Houston’s death.

Houston and Brown were married for 14 years before the celebrity power couple divorced in 2007. The pair had a tumultuous end to their marriage, and their marital difficulties were reportedly compounded by Brown’s numerous troubles with the law.

Most notably, Brown had another drunk driving incident in Florida in 1996. In addition, sources have long speculated that Brown, like his former wife, had a long struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.

The couple’s dirty laundry was aired often during their 2005 reality show, which was simply titled “Being Bobby Brown.”

Brown’s relatively light sentence has stirred some criticism by observers who are suspicious of what they perceive as favorable judicial treatment for celebrities who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Brown faced a maximum sentence of a year in county jail if he had been convicted, and critics will likely complain that his probation sentence is too weak.

However, the vast majority of criminal cases, including DUI cases, end in a plea bargain. And, in a plea bargain, defendants typically admit to their guilt in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Thus, it’s very common for a DUI defendant to receive a relatively light sentence after pleading guilty, and there is little evidence that Brown was the recipient of any favorable treatment.

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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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