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NCIS actor to serve probation after no contest DUI plea

South Carolina residents who enjoy television crime procedural shows may know the actor Michael Weatherly as Anthony DiNozzo on the popular CBS series "NCIS." While the 47-year-old thespian has been widely praised for helping to make the show a hit, he has not always fared as well in his private life. Weatherly was charged with drunk driving after being pulled over for speeding in Los Angeles in November 2015, and on Dec. 29 he appeared before a judge to hear his fate.

The actor had been charged with two counts of DUI following his arrest, which could have resulted in a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail, but the judge hearing the case ordered him to serve probation for a period of three years. Weatherly was also ordered to undergo alcohol counselling for three months and take part in a program organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The sentence was handed down after the actor entered a no contest plea to one drunk driving charge and the remaining counts against him were dismissed.

Weatherly had played minor roles in several television shows when he shot to fame in 2000 after landing the part of Logan Cale in the series "Dark Angel," and the actor continued to make headlines when reports emerged that he had become romantically involved with his costar Jessica Alba. Weatherly's acting credits also include "JAG" and "Ally McBeal."

While many view sentences like this one as evidence that the criminal justice system treats the rich and famous more gently than the public at large, criminal defense attorneys may not necessarily agree. Defense attorneys will often seek more lenient treatment for those facing DUI charges in cases where the defendant has no prior record of drunk driving and no accident occurred.

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