Paris Hilton Charged with DUI
The heiress faces a misdemeanor for allegedly driving under the influence
Paris Hilton has been charged with two misdemeanors – driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher, Los Angeles city attorney’s spokesperson Frank Mateljan tells PEOPLE.
She is scheduled for arraignment on Dec. 5 in L.A., but is not required to attend the hearing. The maximum punishment for a first-time DUI is a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail.
“I’d be very surpised if she does any jailtime,” says Lawrence Taylor, an L.A.-based attorney with 30 years experience handling DUI cases. “If she pleads guilty, she’d likely pay a fine, attend DUI school and be on probation for three years.”
A rep for Hilton had no comment.
Hilton, 25, was arrested on Sept. 7 shortly before 12:30 a.m. for “driving erratically,” LAPD officer Martha Garcia told PEOPLE at the time. The heiress, who has been driving her silver Mercedes-Benz SLR in Hollywood, took a Breathalyzer test showing her blood alcohol level to be 0.08, the minimum required for a DUI arrest in California.
Hilton, who was briefly handcuffed, was released at 3 a.m. on her own recognizance and was driven home by her publicist, Elliot Mintz.
“Paris regrets the entire event,” Mintz told PEOPLE. “She had never been arrested before, so to go through the police procedure was very disorienting for her. It was personally humiliating for her; she is not taking it lightly or frivolously.”
Later that morning, Hilton called in to Ryan Seacrest’s radio show on L.A.’s 102.7 KIIS FM to explain the incident, saying she hadn’t eaten anything the day of her arrest and had worked for hours on the set of her new music video.
She drank one margarita at an event that evening, she said, and was on her way to a fast-food restaurant with Kimberly Stewart, Rod Stewart’s daughter. “I’m in my SLR, which is a little fast, so maybe I was speeding a little bit and I got pulled over,” she said.
Asked by Seacrest if she had been driving erratically, Hilton replied, “No, I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger!”