Celebrities might seem to live the charmed life, but they don’t stand immune to the law. Many celebrities have had to answer charges of driving under the influence, or DUI. Following are some of the most memorable celebrity DUIs in recent history.
Back in 2006, ” Lethal Weapon ” star Mel Gibson found himself on the opposite side of the law when Malibu authorities pulled him over on the Pacific Coast Highway on suspicion of drunk driving. A partial transcript of Gibson’s arrest reveals that the actor behaved belligerently with police officers, frequently making anti-Semitic and sexist remarks.
The authorities charged him with misdemeanor DUI as well as driving with an open container of alcohol – a partially empty bottle of tequila that the officers found on the passenger’s side floorboard. Gibson later expressed remorse for his behavior and his caustic language.
No list of celebrity DUIs would be complete without mentioning Lindsay Lohan’s name. She’s made newspaper headlines for several years because of her frequent brushes with the law. Her arrests include not only a couple of DUIs, but also charges of theft, hit-and-run, and probation violations. She’s also failed a few drug tests and done multiple stints in rehab for her various addictions.
In 2006, heiress Paris Hilton got pulled over by the police for driving erratically. When she took a breathalyzer test, her blood alcohol content, or BAC, was over the California legal limit of .08. She walked away with probation and a fine, which is common for a first offense.
However, she later violated her probation by driving on a suspended license multiple times. She spent a few days in jail, then subsequently on house arrest, because of those mistakes. She later found herself arrested again for cocaine possession, which earned her more probation as well as community service.
The boxing giant remains well-known for the time he bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during “The Sound and the Fury,” one of the most anticipated boxing events of the 20th century. A decade later, however, he got pulled over in his car, and the police subsequently charged him with DUI and possession of cocaine.
He later entered an in-patient treatment program for several addictions. However, this wasn’t Tyson’s first brush with the law. His criminal record includes convictions for assault and rape, and the prosecutor in his DUI case attempted to convince the judge that prison served as the appropriate punishment, but he only served 24 hours in jail. As a youth, Tyson was arrested on numerous occasions.
In 2012, country singer Randy Travis crashed his 1998 Trans Am into a construction barricade. When the police arrived on scene, they found Travis lying naked in the road. The offers reported that they smelled alcohol on Travis, and when they tried to secure him in a police cruiser, he threatened to kill them. They subsequently transported him to jail.
His pending divorce from his wife might have contributed to his inebriated behavior on that night. Toxicology reports revealed that his BAC exceeded .15, and he received two years’ probation and a $2,500 fine. He also had to attend an outpatient alcohol treatment program.
This wasn’t Travis’s first run-in with the law, however. Just six months previously, he was charged with public intoxication when law enforcement officers found him drinking from a bottle of wine in front of a Sanger, Texas, church. Travis has also been charged with other offenses over the years, including assault.
Like many child actors, Natasha Lyonne grew up to experiment with drugs and tread the line between law-abiding citizen and criminal. In 2001, police arrested her for driving under the influence. She received just a slap on the wrist – a fine and community service – but she later found herself the subject of a trespassing and harassment charge. Her battle with drugs and alcohol played out heavily in the media, further contributing to her downward spiral.
However, Lyonne has beaten back the demons that have claimed so many child stars. She currently stars as Nicky Nichols in Netflix’s breakout hit “Orange Is the New Black.” The show led to an Emmy nomination and excellent positive publicity, even though (or maybe because) she plays an inmate in prison.
George W. Bush
The presidential election often brings skeletons out of candidates’ closets. Nobody knows this better than George W. Bush, whose DUI conviction from his youth surfaced just a few days before the 2000 election. In interviews, he reported that he had never attempted to hide his record and that a 24-year-old conviction for DUI shouldn’t impair his ability to lead the country.
Apparently, many Americans felt the same way. Bush won the 2000 election against Al Gore. He went on to serve eight years in the White House – and with no other legal issues.
She once charmed millions of musical theater fans with her portrayal of Rizzo in the iconic musical “Grease.” Her bad-girl image in the performance might have leaked into her personal life a bit, however, because the Tony Award-winning actress got arrested at age 60 for driving under the influence. She reportedly attempted to drive around a Hollywood roadblock, after which police officers stopped her and administered tests to check for intoxication.
With a BAC of .13, Channing went immediately to jail. However, after her initial arrest and arraignment, the judge sentenced her to just 36 months’ probation. Channing pleaded no contest in that case.
Clearly, celebrities often come under scrutiny for their private habits, especially when they consume alcohol or other substances before getting behind the wheel of a car. Of course, regular citizens can get charged with DUI as well, and you might want to know a person’s arrest record before you become personally involved with them.