Actress Doherty Enters No-Contest Plea to Drunk-Driving Charges


Actress Shannen Doherty on Monday pleaded no contest to drunk driving, shortly before her trial was scheduled to begin in Ventura County Superior Court.

Doherty, star of television’s “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Charmed,” entered pleas on misdemeanor charges of driving while under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level of higher than .08.

“Shannen, taking responsibility for her actions, decided she didn’t want to go forward with this,” said defense attorney Trent Copeland of Los Angeles. “It didn’t make sense for her professionally to fight this.”


Judge Charles Campbell found Doherty guilty based on her no-contest pleas. In entering no-contest pleas, which cannot later be used in a civil suit, Doherty did not admit or deny guilt but chose not to contest the charges. The 30-year-old actress, who will be sentenced June 12, faces a maximum of two days in jail and three years’ probation.

But Copeland said he plans to ask the judge to impose an alternative sentence that would take advantage of Doherty’s celebrity. That could include work-release time spent speaking to youth organizations instead of jail time.

She also faces a fine of $1,500 and will be required to attend alcohol information school, which includes both education and counseling.

Surrounded by television cameras, Doherty appeared in court with her mother, manager and lawyers. Outside of court, she kept her sunglasses on and head down, refusing to talk to reporters.

Doherty was pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers in Thousand Oaks early on Dec. 28 after they noticed her 2001 black Ford pickup weaving in and out of lanes.

She was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and was released several hours later on her own recognizance.

Doherty refused to take a breath test at the scene to determine her blood-alcohol level. Authorities instead administered a blood test, which showed a level of 0.13. Copeland, however, said there was “clearly a dispute” over that level.