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Nolte pleads no contest to DUI count

Actor placed on probation, must undergo substance abuse treatment

From Stan Wilson

Nick Nolte
Nick Nolte

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• Misdemeanor complaint: People v. Nolte  (FindLaw, PDF)external link
• EW,com: All about Nick Nolte external link

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A judge Thursday placed Nick Nolte on three years' probation and ordered him to undergo a 90-day substance abuse program after the actor pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI charges.

Additionally, Judge Lawrence J. Mira fined the 61-year-old actor $500 and ordered Nolte to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

Nolte was arrested September 11 after police saw his black Mercedes-Benz driving erratically on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

He was charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and one count of being under the influence of a controlled substance known as gamma-hydroxybutyrate or GHB, the so-called date-rape drug.

A no-contest plea is treated as a guilty plea in criminal court. In exchange for that plea, the second count -- driving under the influence of a controlled substance -- was dropped.

The bearded Oscar-nominated actor arrived at the courthouse Thursday in sunglasses and wearing a black suit and dark shirt and tie.

"You can't help but learn something from this experience," Nolte told reporters as he entered the courtroom.

Defense attorney Mark Werksman said Nolte has no idea how the illegal substance entered his bloodstream, but suspects it could have come from numerous nutritional supplements the actor takes as part of a physical conditioning program.

Had Nolte been convicted, he could have faced up to six months in jail.

Werksman said the actor continues to work on several projects.

He is starring in three motion pictures scheduled for release next year: "The Good Thief," "The Hulk" and "Beautiful Country."

The actor was nominated for two Oscars for his role in the "Prince of Tides" (1991) and "Affliction" (1997).

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