E! News June 12th 2001

E! News June 12th 2001

With Charmed no longer on her schedule, Shannen Doherty now has something else to do with her time.

The former star of the witchy WB series was sentenced Tuesday to either 10 days in jail or 20 days of work-release duty, after she pleaded no contest to drunk-driving charges. Doherty, 30, was arrested in December after she was pulled over for allegedly weaving across a Southern California highway.

Doherty, who didn't show up for Tuesday's sentencing, was ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and was put on three years' probation. She's also not allowed to drive with any alcohol in her system, and she'll have to attend a series of DUI classes.

But the real sticking point Tuesday was over what kind of community service the actress would be allowed to perform, instead of jail time. Prosecutors pushed for a standard punishment--which would include Doherty doing the always-enjoyable roadside trash pickup. But Judge Charles Campbell ultimately agreed to let her work off some of the time by doing speaking engagements at teen centers and meetings for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"Our office's position was that she should do what everyone else does," says Ian Morse, deputy District Attorney for Ventura County. "We don't feel she should do less because she's a celebrity. If she were truly repentant, she would do the speaking engagements on her own. But the court's position is that she's in a unique position to help people in the community."

Either way, the judge will determine the exact amount of community service on September 10, when Doherty's due back in court for a progress hearing.

The actress initially faced up to six months in jail, partly because prosecutors chalked up a "special enhancement" against the actress for refusing to take a breathalyzer test when she was stopped along the Ventura Freeway. But prosecutors said a penalty as stiff as six months in the slammer was unlikely.

The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol December 28 at about 3 a.m., while driving in the northern Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks. Authorities said they spotted her Ford pickup drifting across several lanes of the freeway. Once stopped, Doherty refused to take a breathalyzer test, but officers booked her on suspicion of drunk-driving.

Prosecutors said Doherty was later given a "non-consensual" blood test, which registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent--over the state's 0.08 legal limit. Doherty's lawyer previously denied that her blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.

All told, it's been a tumultuous couple months for the erstwhile Brenda Walsh. Last month, Doherty announced she was leaving her hit series Charmed after three seasons--marking the second time she's bolted from an Aaron Spelling show. (She was fired from Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1994.)

This latest departure came amid reports of on-set tensions between her and costar Alyssa Milano. Doherty, however, told Movieline magazine she left because she thought her talents were being wasted on a show "for 12-year-olds."

But in the meantime, it appears Doherty's talents will be put to use elsewhere--like Ventura County community centers.