The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

Rodney King Takes Plea Deal, Has DUI Charges Dropped

Rodney King pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor reckless driving in Riverside County, reports KPCC News. The plea was in response to his arrest last July in Moreno Valley, just southeast of L.A., where his BAC registered at 0.06 percent.

While King's BAC was below the state's limit of 0.08 percent, King admitted to being under the influence of medical marijuana. At the time, he was charged with two counts of misdemeanor DUI.

For those of you who may be too young to remember the Rodney King fiasco, he was the man who’s plight caused the infamous L.A. riots two decades ago. In 1992, King led Los Angeles Police on a high speed chase, culminating in his beating by the cops; a beating that was caught on video.

After a trial that resulted in a slap on the wrist for the officers involved, there were three days of rioting in South Central L.A. The riot is said to have been one of the nation’s bloodiest riots, with over 2,300 injured and 55 people dead.

Rodney King is no stranger to driving under the influence, though. Last year, he told CNN that he will always struggle with alcohol addiction. Indeed, at the time of the 1992 high-speed chase, he was said to have been under the influence of alcohol.

King took a plea bargain and has been sentenced to 20 days of house arrest, monitored by an ankle bracelet. Although he was initially charged with two counts of misdemeanor DUI, those charges were dropped and he was ordered to pay a fine of $500 and complete a nine-month sobriety education program. He has also been placed on three years probation, says John Hall, a spokesperson for Riverside County.

Hall also stated that Riverside County prosecutors felt that it would be difficult to prove King’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, as his BAC was below the state’s legal limit.

It doesn’t help Riverside County prosecutors that these days, King is a highly sympathetic defendant for a Los Angeles jury.

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