There is no such thing as bad press, right? I’m sure Britney Spears post head-shaving incident and Lindsay Lohan after her latest stint in rehab would disagree. Even with all the embarrassment and hefty legal fees, celebs keep getting into trouble and although I wish them all the best, I still have to chuckle when I hear of yet another embarrassing celebrity arrest.
I’ve put together a list of some of the biggest celebrity run-ins with the law and their time served – or lack thereof. Just how easy do celebrities have it? Well this puts it in perspective. Did you get off with a warning the last time you were caught urinating on a national landmark? I doubt it.
Paris Hilton: Learning the Hard Way – Again
Hilton royalty and party queen, Paris Hilton, hasn’t been in the limelight much lately, but she still tops the list of quasi-celebs with a serious track record. From sex tapes to DUI charges, little miss Hilton just couldn’t seem to learn her lesson, but lucky for her, a few tears and questionably sincere apologies got her off easy.
In 2006 she got her first DUI with a blood alcohol level of .08% leaving her with a suspended license and 36 days probation as well as a hefty (well – hefty for us normal-folk) fine of $1,500. Paris simply shrugged this off and continued to drive (and get caught) not once, but twice just a year later! In January and again in February 2007, Hilton was pulled over while driving on a suspended license and eventually sentenced to 45 days in jail, but after just two days in the slammer, she was released and sentenced to 40 days home confinement instead. Poor Paris – destined to spend a month and a half in her millionairess diggs.
*The judge eventually went back on the home confinement sentence and made Paris spend her full 45 days in jail – away from the general population, with regular visits from her lawyer and psychiatrist.
Matthew McConaughey: Birthday Suit Bongos
What I wouldn’t give to be the cop who answered this call. Sure, Matthew McConaughey is easy on the eyes, but it’s pretty embarrassing to be caught red-handed in the middle of a naked bongo playing escapade no matter who you are.
In 1999, McConaughey was sowing his wild oats at his home in Austin, TX when a neighbor called in a noise complaint. Apparently when the cops arrived, they found a completely nude McConaughey banging the bongos and looking a little inebriated. He was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. Hopefully the arresting officers showed some compassion and let the 2005 People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive get decent before heading downtown. The drug charges were eventually dropped and the bongo bandit was fined just $50.
James Brown: Potty Patrol
I’m not going to say I wouldn’t be a little upset if a random neighbor was using my office facilities, but I don’t think I’d go around waving a shotgun and demanding to know “who dun it?” This is exactly what iconic funk singer, James Brown, did in 1988 when he assumed an office neighbor was using his private bathroom.
This may have been his idea of “the big payback”, but fleeing the scene (after locking the bathroom of course) and taking cops on a search that crossed state lines, may have been a little overkill for even the “Godfather of Soul”. Brown was eventually caught and sentenced to six years in prison. Lucky for him, he was released after only 3 years and paroled in 1991.
Woody Harrelson: I Just Want to Dance!
Who hasn’t had an awkward drunken dancing moment? In 1982, everyone’s favorite bartender, Woody Harrelson joined the club while partying hard in Texas.
On October 10th, Harrelson had one too many and was arrested drunkenly dancing in the middle of a street in Austin. He could have possibly saved face and chalked it up to a love of “Saturday Night Fever”, but instead he went out with a bang by resisting arrest and actually punching an officer! Surprisingly, Harrelson didn’t have to do any jail time, but was forced to pay a small fine of only $390 – a solid night’s bar tab.
Ozzy Osbourne: When You Gotta Go – You Gotta Go!
Ozzy Osbourne is definitely not the most straight edge celebrity in the world. From biting the head off a bat to being accused of promoting satanism, Ozzy hasn’t always been the lovable, father and husband we got to know on reality TV.
In the early 80s, Osbourne decided the world was his personal bathroom and urinated on one of the nations most popular landmarks, The Alamo in San Antonio, TX . What makes the story even worse is that he didn’t just urinate on a random part of the landmark, he urinated on the Alamo Cenotaph , which commemorates those that lost their life during the Battle of the Alamo. And, in typical Ozzy fashion, the Prince of Darkness was wearing a lovely dress while desecrating the monument.
Besides being banned from San Antonio for a decade, Osbourne got off almost free of charge and was released on only $40 bond!
Although celebrities are notorious for getting off easy when it comes to criminal charges, it always helps to have good legal representation. Sure, Matthew McConaughey probably made some leeway with his good looks and Southern charm, but I’ll bet he also shelled out a pretty penny to get his possession charges turned around.
Mark Treyz , an experienced criminal defense attorney serving Tacoma, WA, stated, “Knowledge is power, and when you have a knowledgeable drug defense lawyer in your corner, the odds of a favorable disposition of your case are much greater than if you take your chances with a public defender or general practice lawyer.”
So, who knows? Was it really due to being a celebrity, or the hard work of an experienced criminal defense attorney that got these celebs off easy? I guess we’ll never know, but I’m pretty sure having a few Grammys doesn’t hurt.