LAS VEGAS (AP) - Motley Crue singer Vince Neil avoided the media and quietly pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving drunk last summer near the Las Vegas Strip in a case that drew denials that he received preferential treatment.
A temporary judge who took the plea before reporters arrived sentenced Neil to 15 days in the Clark County jail and 15 days on house arrest under terms of an agreed-upon plea deal that spared him a trial on a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge. Neil could have faced up to six months in jail if convicted.
Court officials said the 49-year-old rocker was ordered to begin serving his sentence Feb. 15, a week after his 50th birthday.
Neil and his lawyers, Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff, appeared 90 minutes early before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Gerry Zobrist, court officers said. Media members arriving for a scheduled 9 a.m. plea learned that Neil had come and gone.
“My understanding is he came in early and they just moved it up,” said court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price, who was in the courtroom for Neil’s appearance.
Neil said nothing more than “guilty” to the charge against him, Price said. He was also fined $585 and ordered to attend drunken driving abatement school and to view a victim impact video online.
Chesnoff told The Associated Press the case was moved up at his request because he was due in family court across town on another case.
“There is no preferential treatment,” Chesnoff said, noting that the judge _ not the prosecutor _ granted the time change. “I got the normal professional courtesy a lawyer gets when he has a scheduling conflict.”
The attorney also referred to a prepared statement on Neil’s behalf issued after the plea deal was reached Jan. 18. It said the rocker took responsibility for his actions and would learn from the experience.
“He pled guilty to DUI,” Roger said. “The vast majority of people facing a first offense DUI in Nevada don’t face jail time.”
Judges exercise discretion in scheduling, and other cases involving other defendants and lawyers at the Clark County Regional Justice Center have been heard before or after published times.
Chesnoff is an A-list Las Vegas defense lawyer whose clients have included celebrity socialite Paris Hilton, the Hells Angel motorcycle club, boxer Mike Tyson, entertainer Bruno Mars, recording mogul Marion “Suge” Knight and other local and national notables.
Roger is a low-key law-and-order prosecutor perhaps best known for winning felony convictions against O.J. Simpson and five accomplices in a 2007 armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Simpson is serving nine to 33 years in state prison.