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"Lost" star sent to treatment after DUI, avoids jail time

Charleston area "Lost" fans may have heard last month that Matthew Fox, the star of the popular television series, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. He was reportedly on his way to a fast food restaurant in Oregon when he was pulled over by police for failing to stay in his lane. Officers then arrested him and he was charged with driving under the influence and driving without a license.

Last week, Fox pleaded no contest to one count of DUI. A no contest plea does not admit guilt, but it accepts the effects of a guilty plea. It is a way of neither admitting nor disputing a charge, and it is often arranged between prosecutors and defense attorneys as a plea deal. As part of the deal, Fox will have to partake in an alcohol abuse evaluation and any subsequently recommended treatment programs. If he completes the diversion program within a year, the DUI will be removed from his record.

Diversion programs, such as the alcohol abuse treatment that Fox may participate in, are often offered in plea deals in South Carolina when a judge agrees that community service and treatment for substance abuse problems will yield better results than other penalties. These are typically offered in DUI cases where there is an underlying substance abuse program and the defendant does not have any other DUI convictions on his or her record.

In order to achieve the best results from drug charges, it is important to work with a qualified drunk driving defense attorney. An experienced attorney can often succeed in having the charges reduced or dismissed, or in negotiating a favorable plea deal.

Source: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Matthew Fox May Enter Alcohol Treatment to Avoid Jail Time," Kate Stanhope, June 5, 2012

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