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April 24, 2008

Richie Sambora's lucky escape

Troubled rocker Richie Sambora has pled no contest to drink driving and avoided jail.

Just hours after it emerged that charges had been filed against the Bon Jovi guitarist, his lawyer showed up at court and negotiated the plea bargain.

Sambora pled no contest to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher - on the condition that his other driving under the influence charge was dismissed.

Judge Craig Robison ordered the musician to pay around $1,600 in fines and penalties, placed him on three years' informal probation and ordered him to complete an alcohol education course.

He cannot drink or do drugs during his probation period.

Sambora, 48, was pulled over just before 11pm on March 25 this year, in Laguna Beach - just south of Los Angeles, California.

Cops spotted the guitarist, who failed field sobriety tests, driving erratically in a black Hummer.

Sambora was taken into custody, where he posed for a booking photo, and released at 4am the next morning.

According to a celebrity news website, his blood alcohol level was .13 - almost twice the legal California limit of .08.

The musician's 10-year-old daughter Ava was in the car at the time of his arrest, but he has escaped a charge of child endangerment, which was reportedly recommended by police officials.

Sambora, who is currently on tour with Bon Jovi, was charged with driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol reading of .08 or higher.

The maximum sentence for those offences is six months in jail.

But just hours after the media discovered the charges had been filed, Sambora sent high profile lawyer Blair Berk to court in Newport Beach to negotiate a plea bargain.

Prosecutor Dennis Conway agreed with Berk's requests, as did Judge Robison.

Last year was a tough year for Sambora.

The Bon Jovi star broke up with girlfriend Denise Richards after dating for about a year.

In April his divorce from Heather Locklear - the mother of his daughter Ava - was finalized.

That same month, his father died from lung cancer.

In June, Sambora checked himself into rehab.

Posted by riesambo at April 24, 2008 06:28 AM