Diana Ross is stopping in the name of better judgment before she goes to trial.
The Supreme diva has agreed to accept a plea bargain in lieu of letting a judge and jury decide her fate on drunken driving charges.
The announcement came last Friday at a hearing scheduled to discuss jury questions. Ross’ trial was due to commence on Wednesday.
Stephen Paul Barnard, one of Ross’ attorneys, said the singer will change her earlier plea of “not guilty” at a hearing scheduled for February 9. However, he did not say how Ross would plead.
Barnard also declined to elaborate on the nature of Ross’ deal, what sentence it might entail, or whether it would involve any jail time.
“We’re still hashing that out,” Barnard said, per Reuters.
The singer did not appear at Friday’s hearing; nor is she expected to appear at next month’s hearing–except “telephonically.”
The Motown legend was stopped in Tucson in December 2002 after she was spotted driving north in a southbound lane. Police said they detected alcohol on Ross’ breath and put her through a battery of field sobriety tests that the singer allegedly failed miserably.
Arizona state law allows officers to administer Breathalyzers once an individual is taken into custody on a drunken driving charge. Based on Ross’ performance on her field tests, combined with her “watery and bloodshot” eyes and the “strong odor of intoxicants on her breath,” they booked her and had her blow.
The singer’s 0.20 percent–way in excess of the state’s 0.08 percent–earned her a reading of her rights.
Ross later tried to contend that she was unlawfully coerced into the Breathalyzer test and her lawyers attempted unsuccessfully to have the results tossed from evidence.
Tucson City Magistrate T. Jay Cranshaw disagreed that Ross had been intimidated into taking the test. He used police videotape to back his belief that Ross did not appear frightened by her arresting officers.
Ross’ legal team tried to question Cranshaw’s authority by filing a motion accusing the magistrate of abusing his discretion; however a judge decided last month that the motion was unworthy of review.
That brought an end to the best efforts Ross’ attorneys had to offer–they announced they would file no further appeals in the case.
Had the singer gone through with her trial and been found guilty, she could have faced a minimum of 10 days in jail.