Van Sant agrees to alcohol diversion program


PORTLAND, Ore.-- Gus Van Sant, who was arrested on drunken driving charges in December, has agreed to an alcohol diversion program, his attorney said Friday.

Van Sant had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19%, more than double Oregon's limit of 0.08%, when he was arrested Dec. 21 on a main downtown street, police reports said

The 54-year-old director, whose films include "Good Will Hunting" and "Drugstore Cowboy," appeared briefly in court Friday morning, avoiding reporters who were told that his hearing was to be held later.

The state diversion program for driving under the influence of intoxicants, or DUII, requires participation in an evaluation and education or rehabilitation program for one year.

Participants must enter a guilty or no contest plea to enter the program, but if it is successfully completed, no DUII conviction is entered, according to the Oregon Judicial Department.

An assistant to William Uhle, Van Sant's attorney, said Van Sant pleaded no contest.

The diversion program also avoids suspension of a driver's license, and there is no requirement to serve jail time or perform community service work.

Van Sant has set several of his films in Oregon, including "Elephant," about a high school shooting, which won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003.