Prosecutors drop DWI charges against Bruce Springsteen, with rocker fined $500
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen can still drive all night.
New Jersey federal prosecutors dropped a drunken driving charge Wednesday against the legendary rocker, who was instead ordered to pay a $500 fine and $40 in court fees after pleading to a single charge of downing two shots of tequila near a New Jersey beach.
“I think I can pay that immediately,” the rocker replied when asked by Newark Federal Court Judge Anthony Mautone how long it would take to cover the costs.
“I’m sure you can,” replied Mautone, with Springsteen offering a “Thank you, judge” before the 20-minute hearing wrapped up.
Springsteen, in a sports jacket and shirt with the top button open, was cleared at a remotely aired hearing that drew more than 125 media members. The “Born to Run” singer-songwriter pleaded to a single count of consuming alcoholic beverages in the Nov. 14 incident at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, N.J., just 12 miles from his Jersey home.
Federal prosecutors acknowledged Springsteen’s breathalyzer reading was .02, well below the state’s .08 level for intoxication.
“Mr. Springsteen is pleased with the outcome of today’s court appearance,” defense attorney Mitchell Ansell said in a statement after the proceeding. “The prosecutor was unable to provide the necessary evidence and facts as it related to the charge of driving under the influence (DUI) and reckless driving and therefore, dismissed both of those charges.
“Mr. Springsteen, who has no previous criminal record of any kind, voluntarily plead guilty to a violation of consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area … We want to thank the Court and will have no further comment at this time.”
The park ranger who busted the Boss for driving while intoxicated recounted watching the “Born to Run” star pour the last drink from a bottle of Patron tequila before taking off on his Triumph motorcycle. A report described the Garden State guitar slinger as smelling strongly of alcohol, unsteady on his feet and glassy-eyed before his arrest.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Baker noted the legendary Jersey rock star’s low blood alcohol reading in asking Mautone to drop the drunken driving and reckless driving charges.
Springsteen, 71, a native of Freehold, also refused to take a breathalyzer test and botched a test where he was asked to perform a “stop and turn” — taking 45 steps rather than the requested 18, according to court papers.
The legendary live performer hired an attorney but never made any public statements after word of the arrest finally leaked months later. He answered questions from the judge politely but said nothing further during the hearing.
Before the hearing started, Mautone offered his take on the attention surrounding the DWI case.
“This poor defendant can’t go anywhere in public,” he observed.