Thursday, December 6, 2007
Kiefer Sutherland sentenced to 48 days in jail for drunken driving
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES - Kiefer Sutherland was sentenced to 48 days in jail for racking up a second drunken driving arrest in three years and immediately reported to a lockup.
The star of the television drama "24" arrived at the city jail and was being processed Wednesday evening, said Glendale, Calif., police officer John Balian.
Sutherland, who pleaded no-contest in October to driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08, had appeared in court with his lawyer earlier Wednesday and politely answered the judge's questions, said assistant city attorney Dan Jeffries.
The actor's request to serve his time at the Glendale city jail was granted and he was ordered to complete the sentence by March 30, Jeffries said.
"Kiefer made the decision to surrender to custody immediately," his lawyer, Blair Berk, said.
He could have waited as late as Feb. 12.
The actor was already on probation for a 2004 drunken-driving arrest when he was stopped by police as he left a Hollywood industry party at the trendy Area nightclub Sept. 25. Authorities said he failed a field sobriety test after being pulled over for making an illegal U-turn.
Sutherland had also pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanour DUI charge in 2004. He was sentenced in that case to five years' probation, 50 hours of community service and ordered to attend an alcohol-treatment program. Authorities said he fulfilled the community service and alcohol-treatment obligations.
He was also convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving in 1993, the city attorney's office said.
"I'm very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently and I'm deeply sorry for the disappointment and distress this has caused my family, friends and co-workers," Sutherland said in a statement issued after he entered his plea in the latest case.
Sutherland, who plays dashing federal counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer on "24," won an Emmy for best actor last year.
He must serve all 48 days in jail. Under the terms of his plea, he also must serve 60 months probation, pay a $510 fine, enroll in an 18-month alcohol-education class and attend weekly alcohol-therapy sessions for six months, Jeffries said.
Sutherland will serve his sentence at the city jail but under a county jail program because of overcrowding, Jeffries said.
The Glendale jail is a minimum-security facility with 48 cells, each of them measuring three metres by 2.5 metres. They come equipped with two beds, a toilet, washbasin and water fountain but Sutherland won't be sharing his cell.
"Anyone here for a long period of time will get their own cell," Balian said.
The actor is classified as an "inmate worker" and will be required to perform duties in the laundry room and help prepare food for prisoners in the kitchen area.
"He'll be working here for 48 days," Balian said.
Sutherland will also have access to an outdoor area and be allowed two visitors a day.