Nicole Richie will not face her DUI charges in court until August, after a LA Superior Court Commissioner granted a delay request by the defense earlier this morning.
Yesterday, Richies lawyer appeared in court early to ask for the continuance on the case as their expert Dr. Terence Sean McGee was unavailable to testify until next month. The Commissioner told them to return today to argue the motion. Moments ago, a Commissioner approved their request and the case has been continued until August 16.
Richie was ordered to appear in court at that time.
The motion to continue the case was originally filed in court on June 26. The request was made because the defense claimed their witness — Dr. Terence Sean McGee was unavailable to testify immediately. They claimed in the motion, his testimony will be critical to Miss. Richies case in the filing as he can challenge the prosecutions scientific evidence and the conclusions reached by the drug recognition expert.
Richie, 25, was not in court for the brief hearing. Because she faces a misdemeanor charge, she was not required to attend.
Allan Parachini, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Superior Court, said Tuesday that Richie would have to decide whether to accept a plea deal offered by prosecutors.
Terms of the deal were not made available and the district attorney’s office declined to comment.
Richies lawyer left court immediately after the hearing and was unavailable for comment on a possible plea deal.
Richie was arrested early Dec. 11 after witnesses reported seeing her black 2005 Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle headed the wrong way on a freeway in Burbank.
She allegedly failed a field sobriety test and authorities said she told them she had smoked marijuana and taken a prescription painkiller. No drugs were found on her or in the vehicle.
She pleaded not guilty in February to the DUI charge.
Richie co-stars on “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton, who was recently released after being in custody for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.
Besides the single DUI count, Richie’s case contains an allegation that she had a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction in June 2003.
The California Vehicle Code says that if convicted of DUI twice within 10 years, a person can be sentenced to between 90 days and a year in jail and have driving privileges suspended.
Richie’s legal problems come amid reports that she’s pregnant. Her publicist has not answered repeated telephone and e-mail messages.
Some observers believe Richie could help herself by attending the proceedings.
“Anything that appears humble before the court is wise,” said Hollywood publicist Michael Levine. “I think there’s a backlash afoot because of the Hilton trial and anything to nullify it would be a good idea.”
Others believe the Commissioner will be unmoved by the controversy surrounding the case against Hilton, who was initially given an early release to home confinement.
“I think it’s going to be in the back of his mind,” said defense attorney Mark Geragos, who has represented Winona Ryder and Michael Jackson. “But if it’s a second DUI offense, it usually carries a mandatory amount of jail time.”
Richie, the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, made the late-night talk show rounds recently, telling CBS’ “Late Show” host David Letterman that she was worried about going to jail but was “willing to face whatever consequences come my way.”