Amanda Bynes’ Erratic Joy Rides Come to Screeching Halt

Posted September 21, 2012 in Criminal Law Driving & Motor Vehicles by

Mugshot from Bynes' April 6, 2012, arrest in West Hollywood, Calif., for DUI. (Photo copyright: The Smoking Gun)

Actress Amanda Bynes – best known for her appearance in the 90s in Nickelodean series and later in movies such as “What a Girl Wants” and “Hairspray” – is quickly becoming even better known for her brushes with the law (literally), and her story is instructional for those who think cars are fun toys to drive.

After a DUI, two hit-and-runs (including a side-swipe of a cop car), a driver’s license suspension and a car impoundment, Bynes is pushing the envelope on what Hollywood celebrities can get away with in their cars. She even attracted the ire of a fellow blonde star who is having none of the unequal treatment. “Why did I get put in jail and a nickelodeon star has had NO punishment(s) so far?” tweeted Lindsay Lohan on Sept. 16.

Don’t worry, Lindsay: It doesn’t look like you’ll be the only one for long.


Add Another Ticket to the Glovebox

Bynes’ car troubles began in March, when the LA police pulled her over for talking on her cell phone while driving. A month later, she side-swiped a police car in West Hollywood at 3 a.m. and was charged with DUI – but not until months later. September started as a banner month for the star, with two hit-and-run charges and the suspension of her driver’s license by the California DMV.

She was pulled over a few days after the suspension for driving without headlights but simply let go, despite driving without a license, according to the Los Angeles Times. Finally, on Sept. 16, she managed to drive around the Burbank Airport erratically enough to attract the attention of cops who discovered she was driving on a suspended license and impounded her car. 

One sign that Bynes is taking the trouble somewhat seriously is that her Twitter account, where she’d mounted an earlier stand claiming to be innocent and even exhorting President Obama to help her, has been wiped: 287,460 followers and not a tweet to be heard.

But just how serious are Bynes’ troubles – the legal ones – anyway?


License Suspension and DUI

Joseph Esparza

“Usually, a first-time misdemeanor offender for DUI/DWI is looking at probation and supervision with little to no jail time,” notes Joseph Esparza, a partner with Gross & Esparza, PLLC in San Antonio, handling state, federal, and military criminal defense cases.

“Fines, court costs and other fees could also be imposed,” says Esparza, “in addition to the required taking of substance abuse classes, driver’s license suspensions, victim impact counseling, and even installation of ignition interlock (where you are required to blow into a device on your vehicle before it will start).”

As to why she was not at least ticketed the first time for driving without a license, it’s possible that the cops weren’t too worried yet (and not reading the TMZ website). “Every jurisdiction is different, but many times officers have discretion in the street to simply give warnings to drivers and not ticket,” says Esparza. “A suspended license usually results in a ticket, but a warning alone is not unheard of.”


No More Drivey for Bynesy

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It looks like Bynes will be off the streets of LA for a while even before she goes to court for her DUI charge. Administrative suspension of your driver’s license in such cases is common.

Like Bynes, you can also get nailed just for piling up driving violations. “Too many points on a driver’s license and the state can suspend your license,” Esparza warns.

If you lose your license this way, it’s still possible to get it back. “The licensing agency will typically have procedures and fees to be paid before the license can be reinstated, and any imposed suspension period has to have lapsed before the reinstatement will be approved,” he adds. “Check with your Department of Public Safety as to what is needed in order to reclaim your legal right to drive.”


Do you think Amanda Bynes is receiving star treatment by the LA cops? Share your opinion below.

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