Paris Hilton, arrives at the private party thrown
by her parents Rick and Kathy Hilton to celebrate her new fragrance, in this
June 14, 2006 file photo in New York. Her attorney entered not guilty pleas in
Los Angeles on her behalf Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007, to charges of misdemeanor
driving under the influence. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh, File)
LOS ANGELES - Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton pleaded innocent to drunk
driving on Tuesday after she was arrested in September in Hollywood while she
was hurrying to get a late-night burger.
Hilton did not attend the brief hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court at
which her attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, entered the not guilty plea.
The 25-year-old heir to the Hilton hotel fortune was not required to be in
court because the charges, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving
with a blood alcohol level over California's legal limit of .08, are
Superior Court Judge Michael Sauer set a pretrial hearing for Jan. 23 and
said it would go to trial within a month of that date.
The socialite and reality TV star faces a maximum penalty of six months in
jail and a $1,000 fine if she is convicted, though first-time offenders are
often given probation and required to attend alcohol counseling.
Hilton was stopped by police in Hollywood for driving erratically. She failed
a sobriety test and was taken into custody. She later told KIIS-FM radio that
she had been to a fund-raising party after a long day shooting a music video and
had just one drink.
"I had one margarita (and) was starving because I had not eaten all day.
Maybe I was speeding a little bit and I got pulled over," Hilton said.
"I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out Burger," she said,
referring to the popular, California-based fast-food chain.
Hilton's spokesman has said that her blood alcohol level registered "the
absolute minimum amount of alcohol in your system that would justify an arrest."