Bruce Springsteen has avoided convictions for drink-driving and reckless driving and will instead be fined $US500 after the rock’n’roll legend pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol at a federally run New Jersey beach in November.
Springsteen, 71, pleaded guilty to a third charge, consuming alcohol in a closed area, meaning the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Better known as Sandy Hook, it is an Atlantic Ocean peninsula with views of the New York City skyline.
The rocker, whose songs have chronicled life in his home state of New Jersey and its shore scene for more than 50 years, entered his plea in an online arraignment on Wednesday before US District Court Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone in Newark.
He admitted to downing “two small shots of tequila” on November 14 at Sandy Hook beach, part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, where alcohol consumption is prohibited.
Judge Mautone, who said lawyers had agreed to settle the case before the hearing, also imposed $US40 ($A50) in fees, and then asked the rock star how long he would need to pay the $US540 total.
“I think I can pay that immediately, your honour,” said Springsteen, seated next to his lawyer, Mitchell Ansell.
“I think you can but I don’t want to compel you to do so,” the judge said. “I’m going to give you a week to get this done.”
Mr Ansell issued a statement after the hearing saying Springsteen was “pleased” with the outcome, noting that prosecutors could not prove the more serious charges and that his client had no previous criminal record.
The November arrest, which had gone unnoticed until it was reported by celebrity news website TMZ on February 10, came after a park officer said he saw Springsteen take a shot from a 750-millilitre bottle of tequila and then mount his Triumph motorcycle.
The officer wrote that the rocker “smelt strongly of alcohol” on November 14 and “had glassy eyes” and that there was a bottle of tequila that was “completely empty”.
Springsteen also faced the more serious charges of reckless driving and driving while intoxicated. But Assistant US Attorney Adam Baker said he was dropping both of them.
Mr Baker said prosecutors could not prove the reckless driving case and noted Springsteen’s 0.02 per cent blood alcohol level was far below the state limit, even though the incident occurred on federal property.
The settlement led Jeep to resume airing a two-minute video it sponsored titled The Middle, first shown during the February 7 Super Bowl, in which Springsteen speaks of reuniting a divided America.
“People sometimes forget that members of parliament are human beings and have emotions and feelings and the rest of it.”
Springsteen had performed on January 20 as part of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, singing Land of Hope and Dreams in front of the Lincoln Memorial.