Mischa Barton gets probation for drunken driving

Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:43am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Mischa Barton, who starred on the TV drama "The O.C.," was sentenced on Thursday to three years unsupervised probation and ordered into an alcohol education program after pleading no contest to drunken driving.

As part of the plea deal, which spared the London-born actress any jail time, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a marijuana possession charge and reduced a charge of driving without a license to an infraction, a court official said.

Barton, 22, was not present for the proceedings in a Beverly Hills court. Her lawyer entered her no contest plea, the functional equivalent of pleading guilty in California, on her behalf.

"Ms. Barton understands the seriousness of this situation and assumes full responsibility for her actions," her lawyer, Anthony V. Salerno, said in a statement following the hearing. "She and I are grateful to the court and the District Attorney's Office for the prompt and respectful resolution of the case."

In addition to probation, Barton was ordered to complete a three-month alcohol education program and was fined about $2,000, a Los Angeles County court official said.

The case stems from the December 27 arrest of Barton, best known for her role as Marissa Cooper on Fox network's "The O.C.," who police said was weaving between two lanes of traffic and failing to signal a turn while driving in West Hollywood, a community in the Los Angeles area.

Barton spent about seven hours in jail before being released on $10,000 bond.

Appearing the following month on a Los Angeles radio talk show, Barton made a public mea culpa for her behavior.

"I don't know what to say about it, except that I'm not perfect, and I just don't ever intend to do something this stupid again," she said, according to People.com.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Eric Beech)

<p>Mischa Barton smiles at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award event honoring Italian fashion designers Donatella Versace and her late brother Gianni, in Beverly Hills California February 8, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>