Lakers owner placed on probation

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VISTA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor drunken driving.

Buss was sentenced to five years' probation and fined $1,900. He was not required to appear in court.

He also admitted he drove with a blood-alcohol level of .13%, above the state limit of .08%.

Buss owns a home in northern San Diego County and was arrested in nearby Carlsbad in May after being stopped for driving his gold Mercedes-Benz on the wrong side of the road.

Buss was under the influence of alcohol or an unspecified drug but refused to take a chemical test, according to a criminal complaint filed by the district attorney's office. He was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

Prosecutor William Wood said Tuesday there was no evidence that Buss had used any drugs.

The 74-year-old Lakers owner entered his plea in state court through defense attorney David Manning Chodos.

Chodos declined to comment after the hearing.

Buss released a statement through the team after his arrest saying he drove only a short distance but recognized it was a bad decision.

"I was wrong to do it. It was a mistake I will not make again," he said in the statement.

Judge Martin Staven ordered Buss to take part in a first-conviction program and attend a program administered by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

A telephone message left for a Lakers spokesman was not immediately returned.
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