DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Kim Delaney: Erratic, Not Drunk

Kim Delaney mug shot

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Kim Delaney: Erratic, Not Drunk

Los Angeles prosecutors have us confused.

First, they charge nimble-fingered Winona Ryder like she was the Hillside Strangler. Then they go and let actress Kim Delaney off with a slap on the wrist, though sheriff's deputies were certain the former "NYPD Blue" star was drunk when she was arrested last month, according to police reports obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Delaney was busted on January 26 after a motorist called 911 to report that a woman was driving erratically along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The motorist followed the car to a nearby home where cops later arrested the 40-year-old actress for investigation of drunk driving.

As these reports show, police concluded that Delaney, who they described as "belligerent" and "uncooperative," was plastered. Her breath smelled of booze. Her speech was slurred, her eyes bloodshot. And as she spoke with deputies, Delaney steadied herself by hugging the doorway of her home. And then there was that "small (2 or 4 oz.) empty bottle of vodka lying on the passengers seat" of Delaney's Mercedes-Benz.

Finally, when a deputy was preparing to transport an "apparently disoriented and incoherent" Delaney to the sheriff's station house, the actress actually slipped out of her handcuffs "and had to be re-secured in the back seat of Deputy Peck's radio car prior to transportation."

So imagine Kim's glee when she pleaded no contest on February 19 to a simple reckless driving charge (Delaney was fined $300, ordered to complete a safe-driving class, and hit with two years summary probation). An L.A.prosecutor told the Associated Press there was "insufficient evidence to prove that her erratic driving was due to alcohol."

A DWI conviction, of course, would have carried far stiffer penalties, including possible jail time. (5 pages)