September 29, 1997 12:00 AM

Former “Law and Order” star Michael Moriarty, 59, facing an assault charge for allegedly slapping his common-law wife, Margaret Brychka, during an argument in a restaurant while they both were drinking, was told by a judge in British Columbia on Wednesday that he can avoid a criminal record if he stays away from Brychka when he drinks. The assault charge will be put on hold for a year and then dropped, should Moriarty adhere to the court’s ruling. “I’m glad its over,” a gravel-voiced Moriarty, who has admitted publicly to a drinking problem, told reporters after the hearing. Brychka, who also attended the hearing, told reporters that she still loves Moriarty.

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