Over the years, several talented contestants have been booted from Fox's American Idol for bad behavior in their personal life. Now, it looks like one of their judges has picked up some of those same habits.

The syndicated Celebrity Justice TV show reported today that the Los Angeles city attorney has charged Idol judge (and former "Laker Girl") Paula Abdul with one count of criminal misdemeanor hit-and-run for a December 20 incident on a L.A. freeway. If convicted, Paula faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The incident reportedly took place at 7:20AM when Paula, making a lane change, clipped another car, causing minor damage. However, instead of stopping, Paula allegedly took off. The other driver then took a picture of her Mercedes on his camera phone, and his passenger recognized the driver of the luxury auto as Paula.

According to an earlier report on Celebrity Justice, despite the fact that the damage was minimal, investigators were seeking criminal charges because they believed that Paula had lied to them during the investigation. She allegedly told the officers (1) that she hadn't hit anything except a pothole around the time of the incident and (2) that the car in question could not have been her Mercedes because it was in the shop that day. However, investigators subsequently learned that Paula's car did not go to "the shop" (Mercedes-Benz of Beverly Hills) until the day AFTER the accident.

With criminal charges now filed against her, Paula joins a long line of former Idol contestants-turned-defendants, including (1) Idol 3 semifinalist Donnie Williams, who was arrested for drunk driving and dropped from the show, (2) Idol 2 finalist Corey Clark, who was arrested for battery and dropped from the show, (3) Idol 2 semifinalist Jaered Williams, who was arrested for (but ultimately acquitted of) assault and dropped from the show; (4) Idol 2 semifinalist Frenchie Davis, who was investigated for posing for faux "kiddie porn" and dropped from the show; and (5) Idol 2 finalist Trenyce, who had been arrested for felony theft but had completed a "pre-trial divrrsion program" instead of going to trial ... and was therefore the only one of the "sinners" permitted to remain on the show.

Paula's future may turn out differently than the dismissed contestants, since she (unlike the contestants) isn't trying to become an "American Idol." Nevertheless, it is unclear whether executive producer Simon Fuller, who sold his production company last week, wants to continue with a "nice girl" Idol judge who fails to tell the police the truth in real life.

Then again, perhaps Paula's role on Idol led to some of her truth-telling problems. After all, given that she spends most of her time telling even the worst performers how wonderful they are (only to have "third judge" Simon Cowell deflate those illusions). Paula's understanding of the difference between truth and fiction might have started to blur a bit over the past four seasons.