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'The Simple Life' star Nicole Richie granted delay in drunk driving trial

By Christopher Rocchio, 06/20/2007 

Nicole Richie has apparently played a get-out-of-jail-free card to keep her from behind bars for at least a few more weeks.

At the request of Richie's lawyers, The Simple Life star was granted a two-week postponement of her Los Angeles trial stemming from a December charge of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Reuters reported Tuesday.  However Superior Court Commissioner Steven Lubell also made it clear that he wouldn't grant any additional delays and the trial will begin on Wednesday, July 11.  The trial originally scheduled to start Monday, June 25.

"She has two options: Either she goes to trial or she changes her 'not guilty' plea," Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, told Reuters.

The 25-year-old was arrested December 11 after highway police responded to 911 calls of a driver traveling the wrong way on Los Angeles' freeway and allegedly found her sitting behind the wheel of her idling SUV in the carpool lane.  When police questioned Richie at the time of her arrest, The Simple Life star failed a sobriety test and admitted that she had smoked marijuana and taken the painkiller Vicodin. 

She pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence in February, and because she has a previous DUI conviction, Richie could be sentenced up to a year in jail and given a $1,000 fine.

Richie's The Simple Life co-star Paris Hilton is currently being held in Los Angeles' Century Regional Detention Center and serving the remainder of her 45-day sentence that resulted from parole violations of a September 2006 drunken driving conviction.  While Hilton's case created a media firestorm, Robison told Reuters that did not have any bearing on the decision to delay Richie's trial.

"For us it's taken on a case-by-case basis," Robison told Reuters. "That's a different office, different jurisdiction. It has nothing to do with this case."

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