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Celebrity Law Breakers -- Why They Get Off

6/15/2006 7:58 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Paris Hilton, Steve-O, Britney Spears, Jesse McCartney
Sometimes when celebs break the law, they're forced to face the music. But other times, well ... not so much. Some of our favorite stars have been caught recently, apparently bending the law -- on camera!!! -- yet they they seem to get off scot-free.

From underage drinking to alleged hit and run, here are some of the most intriguing recent incidents caught on tape!

Paris Hilton: Click to watch! Incident: Last week, Paris Hilton backs her Range Rover into a Honda Civic and appears to drive away without leaving a note. (Read the article: Driving While Paris)

Stakes:   In California, it's a crime to damage a parked car and drive off without leaving a note.  The misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Disposition:  So far Paris is in the clear, but it's not over yet.  A source in the L.A. City Attorney's office tells TMZ that lawyers have been talking about what they can do, but so far no action has been taken.  Paris' rep, Elliot Mintz, told TMZ that Miss Hilton did indeed leave her contact information with a "parking attendant at the parking garage."

The owner of the Honda has not filed an accident report.

And you surely remember the infamous hit and run in Paris' Bentley last November with then-boyfriend, Stavros Niarchos, at the wheel.  No one was cited in that incident, either.

Paris Hilton: Click to watch!Incident:  In December 2004, Paris saw her sex tape, 'One Night in Paris,' on sale at a newsstand in West Hollywood, Calif. She decided to take a copy without paying -- and it was all caught on tape thanks to a security camera.

Stakes:  Petty theft. The first offense is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Dispo:  Security tapes be damned! The L.A. County D.A. rejected the case, citing "a lack of sufficient evidence."  Huh?

Steve-O: Click to watch!Incident:
Steve-O, star of MTV's "Jackass" and "Wild Boys," flaunted what appeared to be a bag of pot in front our TMZ camera last November.

Stakes:  Possessing less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor in California,  punishable by a maximum fine of  $100. Possession of more than an ounce of marijuana is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Dispo:  Steve-0 was not cited and he can't be, because he left with the evidence.  Interestingly, a few weeks after the incident, Steve-O told TMZ, "I didn't want to get the LAPD in trouble. But it's like if you take me to jail right now, I don't give a f**k. I smoke weed."

After TMZ showed our video to the LAPD, the department initiated an "administrative investigation" to determine if officers acted properly.  Six months later, we're told the investigation is ongoing.  (Read the article: LAPD Internal Affairs Requests TMZ Exclusive Video)

Britney Spears, Jesse McCartney
Next:  Britney Spears and Jesse McCartney

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Sometimes the judical system can be harsh on stars. Diana Ross is a prime example she never should have had to spend anytime in jail. She didn't hurt anyone and plenty of people get off without any punishment. She has clearly gave the world years and years of responsible behavior so to make her spend a day or so in jail was completely uncalled for.

3029 days ago

Charlene Kearley    

Nobody really cares who in Hollywood gets off scot free and who doesn' long as "It's Entertainment!" I started my kids on their own lives...and I told my kids as they were growing up...If you break the law, you'll go to jail! This is still true. They never tested their limits, because they know if they break the law, they'll go to jail. I'm too busy raising good kids to worry about whether or not someone in Hollywood got into trouble. What's really sad is that Aol is so overconsumed with this garbage that I have to put up with it everytime I go online. I pay for quality and get junk.

3029 days ago


The only way to stop the status Quo is to do as our forefathers have done. It's time for a revolution. The poor must take back control of our country. The rich destroy everything they touch and they are becoming too strong. It is just a matter of time before the poor people have no choice but to fight back to survive.

3029 days ago

Cedric C. Carter    

I only have one thing to say... "What does it profit a man (or woman,or child) to gain the whole world (fame, fortune and power), yet (in the end and for eternity) lose your SOUL?" I like to be able to sleep each night with a clear conscience. I wonder how many of these people do it. Sooner or later, life's choices have a way of catching up to all of us no matter how rich, famous or powerful any of us might delude ourselves into THINKING we are. It's definitely NOT all about any one individual. And none of us can take IT with us when we die! "It is appointed unto ALL men once to die (physically); then afterwards we face the judgment of God."

3029 days ago

Susan M    

You left off Halle Berry's hit-and-run. She caused injuries which
could have been life-threatening. How did she manage to skate
Susan in SC

3029 days ago


This is directed towards Donnie earlier comment that marijuana has never killed anyone.

I have never read about a death directly associated with a marijuana overdose, but think about it. It gives you a feeling that you're all powerful and you can do anything. So, you do something stupid and end up dead. So, technically, marijuana, or the effects of it, has killed more people than an alcohol overdose.

3029 days ago

Ricki Fox    

It's Money! If "the same punishment for the same crime" were law, the celebs ,as well as us' would get a fine equal to a percentage of our income, ie insted of a $500 fine make it 1% of income for a minor crime. Jail time could remain the same.or bought off for 1% a day.

3029 days ago

kevin g.    

It is sad time when being a celebrity gets you a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Of course, in the past, Hollywood Studios used to cover many a celebrity indiscretion ,so many never even made it into the mainstream media.
I am more offended that true lawbreakers like Karl Rove get away with their crimes without reprecussions.....

3029 days ago

Evelyn Jones    

IT'S ALL IN WHO YOU KNOW AND WHO YOU BLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3029 days ago


hey if i had it like them i wouldnt be mad the system worked for me luck of the draw i guess

3029 days ago

John Lovrich    

No one should be hassled by the police for smoking weed, any more than drinking alcohol. It is a personal choice that harms no one.

3029 days ago


Diana Ross didn't deserve to go to jail, she never ended up hurting anyone.

3029 days ago

Rev. Rick    

You know , they may get away with it down on earth. But come judgement day we ALL have to stand before GOD and give count to all we have done.

3029 days ago

Bill Martin    

If you want to know what this is all leading up to, just read Pattersons book "The 3rd Degree". The greed in Politics, Courts of Justice, Professional Sports and the entertainment world is creating a strong undercurrent as depicted in this book.

3029 days ago

Alex Arnold    

We live in an elitest, brown nose society, putting celebrities on a pedistal.
Magazines like 'People' and 'National Enquirer' thrive on this automatomic
conditioning of many people. All of the media except for a select few try
to rise above this compulsive modernity.

3029 days ago
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