Singer pleads guilty to consuming alcohol in a closed area and receives a $500 fine
At a virtual hearing Wednesday related to the charges stemming from Bruce Springsteen’s DWI arrest at a New Jersey national park in November, the U.S. government dismissed the charges of DWI and reckless driving against the singer.
As part of a pre-hearing agreement between U.S. attorneys and Springsteen’s legal team, Springsteen agreed to plead guilty to consuming alcohol in a closed area — during the hearing, Springsteen admitted to having “two small shots of tequila” — at the Gateway National Recreation Area.
However, as the judge overseeing the case noted, up until three summers ago, alcohol consumption was allowable at the Sandy Hook, New Jersey, park.
In the case of United States of America vs. Bruce Springsteen, the singer was formally charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area. Soon after the charges were read, however, Adam Baker, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the government, admitted that pertaining to the DWI and reckless driving charges, the government “cannot sustain its burden of proof.”
“The blood alcohol reading was .02, which as the court is aware, is well under the state limit of .08,” Baker said.
After pleading guilty to the consuming alcohol in a closed area charge, Springsteen, who has no prior criminal history, was handed down a $500 fine. When asked how long he needed to pay the fine, Springsteen told the judge, “I think I can pay that immediately, your Honor.”
Springsteen’s lawyer Mitchell Ansell told Rolling Stone in a statement after the hearing: “Mr. Springsteen is pleased with the outcome of today’s court appearance. 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, agreeing to a fine of $500. We want to thank the Court and will have no further comment at this time.”
A National Parks Service rep previously told Rolling Stone that Springsteen was arrested in Gateway National Recreation Area on the New Jersey Coast on November 14th. He was charged with DWI, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a closed area. “Springsteen was cooperative throughout the process,” the spokesperson said.
According to a police report, Springsteen told an arresting officer that he had consumed “two shots of tequila in the last 20 minutes.”
“Springsteen smelt strongly of alcohol coming off his person and had glassy eyes,” the report continued, before stating that the New Jersey singer, who was arrested for DWI, performed a “standardized field sobriety tests and observed four out of six clues on the [horizontal gaze] test.” A source familiar with the case told the Asbury Park Press that Springsteen’s blood alcohol content was .02, a quarter of the legal limit.
Soon after news of the arrest emerged, Jeep pulled their Super Bowl ad starring Springsteen. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate,” a spokesperson for Jeep told Rolling Stone. “But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established. Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever. As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”