The Boss met the Man in Newark on Wednesday.
The Garden State’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, appeared before a federal judge on drunk driving charges after police stopped him in mid-November on his motorcycle at the Jersey Shore. He pleaded not guilty to all three misdemeanor charges against him, then admitted to one of them as the U.S. moved to drop two.
The judge fined Springsteen $500 and asked the affluent rock star how long he needed to pay.
“I can pay that immediately, your honor,” Springsteen replied.
Springsteen was arrested on Nov. 14 at Sandy Hook, a six-mile peninsula that forms the northern end of New Jersey’s Atlantic coast and is a popular destination for beachgoers and a recreational haven. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and possession of alcohol in a closed area, and admitted to the last charge.
Each violation is a class B misdemeanor that carries up to a $5,000 fine and six months in jail.The government asked the court to dismiss the other two charges because Springsteen was presumed not to be impaired under New Jersey law, based on his blood alcohol level of .02 percent. The legal limit in New Jersey is .08 percent.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone said prosecutors probably couldn’t have proved the other charges, and noted that until last summer it was legal to drink at Sandy Hook. He accepted the plea.
Springsteen appeared at the remote hearing in a sports jacket in a video box beside his lawyer, Mitchell J. Ansell. Ansell said his client had no prior criminal history and had accepted responsibility for his actions. He asked the court to impose a fine rather than a jail term, a request prosecutors didn’t oppose and that the judge said was appropriate, setting the $500 fine.
“I believe that you can,” the judge said of Springsteen’s offer to pay right away. “But I’m not going to compel you to do so.” He gave Springsteen a week.