Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mischa Barton skipped her first court hearing

Mischa Barton police mugshotShamed Mischa Barton skipped the first court hearing in her DUI case today as her attorney admitted she still doesn't have a valid driver's license.

The London-born actress does not have to attend court in person because she only faces four misdemeanor charges over her DUI arrest back in December.

She decided not to show up at Beverly Hills courthouse for a brief one-minute hearing which saw her case continued until April 10.

Instead she left her attorney Anthony V. Salerno to face the press outside the courthouse as he told of her huge relief she is not in more serious trouble.

Mr Salerno was granted a standard six-week adjournment by judge H. Chester Horn to finalize whether there will be a plea or a negotiated plea.

Mischa faces charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while having a 0.08% or higher blood alcohol level, driving without a valid license and possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana.

Mr Salerno told reporters after the hearing he had spoken to the relieved former 'The O.C.' starlet on Wednesday, when she was in LA. But he admitted she still has not passed her California driving test more than two months after her arrest.

He said: "Now it has come out the way it has, I think she is pretty relieved.

"She was very serious about it and realizes it is a very serious situation, but she is relieved it is not going to be as serious as it looked like it could be.

"Originally she was booked for a felony possession of having narcotics, which the DA's office decided it did not have the evidence to support.

"That would have changed the whole dynamic and she would have had to come to court.

"Just knowing it is going to be resolved has eased a lot of anxiety for her.

"Mischa is in the process of rectifying the driving license situation.

"I expect her to have a full license within a few months."

Mr Salerno expects Mischa will receive the standard mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time DUI offense. He believes she will put on summary probation, fined about $1,600 and be ordered to attend a three-month DUI programme.

The attorney is confident she will not have to wear a SCRAN bracelet. He expects the driving without a license charge to be treated as an infraction and for the marijuana charge to be dismissed.

Mr Salerno added: "She did not have a license because she lived in New York, where you don't really need one, and was driven around for work.

"She didn't drive that much, but it was still a dumb thing to do."

Mischa was arrested at about 2.45am on December 27 in West Hollywood after cops saw her car straddling two lanes of traffic and failing to signal for a turn. She has publicly apologized for her actions and promised: there will be no repeat.

She said: "I'm really disappointed in myself.

"I'm not perfect and I don't intend to do anything this stupid again."

By Iain Burchell, Feb 28 2008 © Copyright 2008 - Showbiz Spy

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