Rapper/actress Queen Latifah (real name: Dana Elaine Owens) yesterday (Jan. 14) pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving to avoid facing trial on two charges of driving under the influence,

Rapper/actress Queen Latifah (real name: Dana Elaine Owens) yesterday (Jan. 14) pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving to avoid facing trial on two charges of driving under the influence, stemming from her November arrest in Los Angeles, prosecutors said. Latifah was sentenced to three years' informal probation and ordered to pay $300 in fines and to participate in a 12-hour alcohol education program, according to a Los Angeles city attorney's office spokesperson.

The 32-year-old performer, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as prison matron Mama Morton in the film "Chicago," did not attend the hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court. Her attorney, Blair Berk, entered the plea on her behalf.

Latifah was driving a 2003 Cadillac Escalade when she was stopped Nov. 20 by police at about 3 a.m. for making an unsafe lane change on the Hollywood Freeway, police said earlier. The New Jersey native failed a field sobriety test and was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence. California Highway Patrol officers described the rapper as cooperative. She was charged with two misdemeanor DUI charges, which were dropped as part of her plea agreement.

The arrest was not Latifah's first brush with the law. In February 1996, officers who stopped her for speeding in the Los Angeles area found a loaded gun and marijuana in her car. She was fined over the incident.

Latifah's other screen credits include "The Bone Collector," "Set It Off," and the upcoming CBS TV series "Mali Anderson."




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