The government dropped the drunk driving and reckless driving charges against Bruce Springsteen on Wednesday in the wake of an incident in November, admitting the rocker’s blood alcohol level was so low it did not warrant the charges.
Springsteen pleaded guilty to a third count, consuming alcohol in a gated area, the Gateway National Recreation Area. Better known as Sandy Hook, it is a peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean overlooking the New York City skyline.
In front of a judge and more than 100 viewers in a video conference, Springsteen sat next to attorney Mitchell Ansell and admitted that he knew it was illegal to consume alcohol in the park.
“I had two small shots of tequila,” Springsteen said in response to questions from an assistant federal prosecutor. The case was heard in federal court because the park is considered federal land.
US Magistrate Anthony Mautone fined Springsteen $ 500 for the crime, plus $ 40 in court fees.
“I think I can pay for that right away, your honor,” Springsteen told Mautone.
In an emailed statement, Ansell wrote that Springsteen “is satisfied with the outcome” of the court hearing.
According to a probable cause document written by park police at the time of the incident, Springsteen told a park officer that he had shot twice in the previous 20 minutes, but that a preliminary breath test would not be done before being arrested. Mautone said Wednesday that preliminary testing is not necessary and is not admissible in court.
When he took a breath test at the park ranger station, Springsteen’s blood alcohol returned .02, a quarter of the legal limit in New Jersey, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The officer wrote that he saw Springsteen take a shot of tequila and then get on his motorcycle. The officer wrote that the rocking chair “smelled strongly of alcohol” on November 14 and “had glassy eyes” and that there was a bottle of Patron tequila that was “completely empty.”
The report described Springsteen as “visibly rocking back and forth” during a field sobriety test and said he declined to provide a sample in an initial breath test.
Following news of the arrest, Jeep put on hiatus an ad that ran during the Super Bowl with Springsteen in Kansas urging people to find common ground. In a statement, Jeep said it would stop the commercial “until the real facts can be established.”
Springsteen performed on January 20 as part of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, singing “Land of Hope and Dreams” in front of the Lincoln Memorial.