Prosecutors dropped legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen's drunk driving and reckless driving charges Wednesday because his .02 blood-alcohol level was well below the .08 legal limit after his arrest at New Jersey's Sandy Hook federal park late last year.
However, the 71-year-old pleaded guilty to drinking tequila shots and was fined $500, NJ.com reported.
What are the details?
Springsteen sat next to his lawyer, Mitchell Ansell, during a virtual appearance before Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone, answered a few questions from his lawyer, and admitted he drank alcohol on Nov. 14, 2020, within a "closed area" of the park where drinking alcohol was recently prohibited, the outlet said.
"I had two small shots of tequila," Springsteen said, according to NJ.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Baker said Springsteen did not take a preliminary breath test during field sobriety tests but did give a sample at the park ranger station, the outlet said. Baker said the initial test isn't legally required, NJ.com, while the judge noted that it's not admissible in court.
With that, the prosecutors moved to dismiss the drunk driving and reckless driving charges, the outlet said.
"I am going to impose nothing but a fine," Mautone said, according to NJ.com, and noted the musician's clean driving record dating to 1973. "Rarely would you see a driver's abstract so devoid of any entries. I'm convinced a fine is the appropriate sentence in this case."
Mautone said only three violations were on Springsteen's driving record, including using a handheld mobile phone, the outlet said.
"Mr. Springsteen, I need to ask you how long you need to pay that fine?" the judge inquired, according to NJ.com.
Springsteen smiled and answered, "I think I can pay that immediately," the outlet said.
Mautone set Wednesday as the deadline for paying the $500 fine, as well as an additional $40 in court fees, NJ.com reported.
What did Springsteen's lawyer have to say?
"Mr. Springsteen is pleased with the outcome of today's court appearance," Ansell said in a statement after the hearing, the outlet said. "The prosecutor was unable to provide the necessary evidence and facts as it related to the charge of driving under the influence (DUI) and reckless driving and therefore, dismissed both of those charges. Mr Springsteen, who has no previous criminal record of any kind, voluntarily plead guilty to a violation of consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area, agreeing to a fine of $500. We want to thank the court and will have no further comment at this time."
What's the background?
Springsteen — known far and wide as "The Boss" — was arrested after a park ranger spotted him take one of the shots of tequila and start the engine on his Triumph motorcycle, NJ.com reported, citing court records.
The park ranger said Springsteen smelled "strongly of alcohol," had "glassy eyes," and showed "signs of intoxication."
After news of his arrest surfaced, Jeep pulled its Super Bowl LV ad featuring Springsteen "until the actual facts [about the incident] can be established."
Spotify earlier this week announced the launch of "Renegades: Born in the USA," a podcast hosted by Springsteen and former President Barack Obama that will cover sociopolitical issues such as race and the future of the country and personal subjects such as fatherhood and marriage.