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Kiefer Sutherland faces drunk driving charge

The '24' star, pulled over after an illegal U-turn, is free on bail, police say.

September 26, 2007|Tami Abdollah and Richard Winton | Times Staff Writers

Actor Kiefer Sutherland was arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of misdemeanor drunk driving in West Los Angeles, while still on probation after a 2004 conviction for a similar offense, authorities said.

Sutherland, who plays counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer on the popular Fox TV show "24," has been convicted or pleaded no contest three times locally since 1989 on alcohol-related charges.

He was pulled over about 1:30 a.m. near La Cienega and Beverly boulevards after police spotted him making an illegal U-turn, said Officer Ana Aguirre, an LAPD spokeswoman.

Aguirre said Sutherland, 40, failed a Breathalyzer exam, registering over the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08%, before being arrested. He was booked at the Hollywood station and released about 4 a.m. after posting $25,000 bail, Aguirre said. Sutherland is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 16.

The city attorney's office had not received the police report and had not filed charges by late Tuesday.

A misdemeanor driving under the influence count would carry a maximum sentence of a year in jail. Sutherland also could face a charge of violating probation.

Los Angeles County Superior Court records show Sutherland was twice convicted for alcohol-related reckless driving, in 1989 and in 1993.

In November 2004, Sutherland pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence and was sentenced to 60 months of probation and 50 hours of community service and ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program, said Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the city attorney's office.

Sutherland won a best actor Emmy last year for his performance on "24," which is scheduled to return to the Fox TV lineup in January.

Fox held a party Monday night at the trendy Area nightclub, near where the actor was stopped, but it wasn't known if he had attended. The event was a celebration of the network's new fall shows.

"It would be premature to comment at this time," said Sutherland's publicist, Evelyn Karamanos.

Sutherland, who was raised in Canada, received the Award of Excellence on Tuesday from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, an actors union, for his contribution to fellow Canadian performers and the entertainment industry.

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tami.abdollah@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com

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