Kiefer Sutherland is charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence



By John Rogers

LOS ANGELES – Kiefer Sutherland, already on probation for a 2004 drunken driving arrest, was charged Friday with misdemeanor driving under the influence in a case the city attorney’s office said could put him in jail for more than a year.

The star of the Fox TV drama “24” was charged with single counts of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or above, said city attorney spokesman Nick Velasquez. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a minimum of four days, Velasquez said.

“We also charged him with a second DUI offense within 10 years, which we believe also violates the terms of his probation,” Velasquez added.

If found guilty of violating probation, Sutherland could be sentenced to an additional six months.

Sutherland publicist Evelyn Karamanos didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

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The 40-year-old actor, who was arrested Tuesday, remains free on $25,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 16.

Because he’s been charged with a misdemeanor, Sutherland won’t have appear in court for his arraignment unless the judge specifically orders him to be there, Velasquez said.

Police have said they stopped Sutherland shortly after 1 a.m. when they saw him make an illegal U-turn. He was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

Authorities haven’t disclosed his blood-alcohol level except to say it was .08 or above, exceeding California’s legal limit.

Sutherland was pulled over shortly after leaving a Hollywood industry party at the trendy Area nightclub.

He was also arrested for DUI in 2004, and in November of that year he pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count. He was sentenced to five years’ probation, 50 hours of community service and was ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program.

City officials have said he completed the community service and treatment program but was still on probation.

He also has a 1993 conviction for alcohol-related reckless driving, according to the city attorney’s office.

Sutherland won a best actor Emmy last year for his performance as dashing federal counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer on “24.”