If you visit celebrity gossip websites, you’re probably used to stories of celebrity DUIs. While some stars’ DUI arrests are unsurprising, you might be shocked by some of the people on our list. Learn more about celebrity DUIs and sentences below.
1. Justin Bieber
In 2014, Justin Bieber was arrested for a DUI and resisting arrest after drag racing his Lamborghini down a residential street at 55 to 60 mph. Justin pled guilty to careless driving and agreed to attend a DUI education course, get anger management counseling, and make a $50,000 donation to a community organization. The arrest occurred during a difficult period of Justin’s life.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan’s DUI case might be one of the most extensively litigated. In 2007, she pled guilty to DUI and cocaine-related misdemeanors. She spent only 84 minutes in jail (allegedly due to overcrowding). A judge revoked her probation in 2010, after the actress skipped a court hearing to attend the Cannes Film Festival. (She claimed her passport was stolen.) After additional probation issues, she spent two weeks in prison. She also attended rehab in 2010, after failing a drug test — and spent additional time in jail in 2011 for probation violations. Lindsay finally completed her celebrity DUI sentence in 2012.
3. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps has pled guilty to two celebrity DUIs. After his first DUI, in 2004, the celebrated Olympian was sentenced to probation and community service. In 2014, the police stopped him due to erratic driving. He was driving roughly 84 mph in a 45 mph zone and had a BAC of 0.14. His second DUI sentence involved 18 months on probation and suspension of his driver’s license. After the arrest, Michael spent time in rehab. He has since described that time in his life as a “downward spiral,” and that his behavior was a “cry for help.”
4. Reese Witherspoon
We were shocked to discover Reese Witherspoon was arrested for disorderly conduct in 2013. After her husband was arrested for a DUI, she began to verbally abuse the police officer. According to the police report, “Mrs. Witherspoon began to hang out the window and say that she did not believe that I was a real police officer… I told Mrs. Witherspoon to sit on her butt and be quiet.” She participated in a pre-trial diversion program and did not serve time.
Reese quickly expressed remorse, stating, “I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said… It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. I have nothing but respect for the police and I’m very sorry for my behavior.”
5. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson’s 2006 DUI and open container charges were highly publicized, due to a recorded rant where he made anti-Semitic statements. At the of his arrest, he had a 0.14 BAC. Mel has apologized repeatedly for his statements and has stated that he “was loaded and angry and arrested” at the time. He also alleges that the police officer illegally recorded their interaction. Mel pled “no contest” to his DUI charges and was sentenced to probation.
6. Robert Downey Jr.
Before he was Ironman, Robert Downey Jr. struggled with substance abuse. In 1996, he was arrested for speeding. The police officer found heroin, cocaine, and an unloaded weapon in the actor’s truck. After a series of skipped drug tests, Robert spent over a year in prison. After another cocaine-related arrest, Robert finally got sober and rebuilt his career. He received a pardon from the State of California in 2015.
7. Mike Tyson
Iron Mike was arrested in 2007 after leaving a nightclub. Police officers found cocaine in his vehicle. He pled guilty to drug possession and DUI — and was subsequently sentenced to 24 hours in jail, probation and community service. During sentencing, the judge noted that after the arrest Mike meaningfully engaged in substance abuse treatment. Mike spent his jail sentence in Arizona’s infamous Tent City, an open-air jail next to a garbage dump and an animal shelter.
8. Paris Hilton
According to Paris Hilton, she had only had one margarita on the night she was arrested for her 2006 DUI. She attributes her high blood-alcohol content (BAC) to the fact that she didn’t eat that day. Her arrest serves as a reminder that even one drink, under the right circumstances, can lead to a DUI. She pled no contest and served probation. She later described her arrest as “nothing,” and that she was speeding because “I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger.”
9. John Stamos
“Uncle Jesse” was arrested for a celebrity DUI in 2015. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor. John was sentenced to three years of probation and mandatory alcohol counseling. He checked himself into rehab shortly after the arrest. He later described his choice to drive while intoxicated as “horrific.”
10. President George W. Bush
When President George W. Bush was 30 years old, he faced arrest for a DUI. At the time of his arrest, he had a BAC of 0.10. He paid a modest fine and was then banned from driving in the State of Maine for a short time. President Bush stopped drinking alcohol the day after his 40th birthday and refuses to comment on his “youthful indiscretions.”
How Do Celebrities Get Out of DUI Charges?
Not all celebrities get out of their DUI charges. Some of the people on our list served jail time, lost their driver’s licenses, and faced other penalties. However, judges typically have a lot of discretion when sentencing someone with a DUI. Factors such as the person’s criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the DUI can impact a celebrity DUI sentence. And of course, having a skilled DUI defense lawyer by your side helps a lot.