Singer Bruno Mars pleaded guilty to cocaine possession today, three days after winning his first Grammy award, in a deal that avoids prison.
“Guilty, your honour,” the 25-year-old singer-songwriter said softly, standing in a Nevada court in a dark suit with his hands at his sides.
Clark County District Judge Jessie Walsh sentenced Mars, whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez, to probation, a $2,000 fine, 200 hours of community service at a non-profit organisation and eight hours with a drug counsellor in Los Angeles.
Mars, who performed at the Grammys on Sunday and took home the award for best male pop vocal performance for his hit 'Just The Way You Are', declined to comment in the court hallway.
He and his lawyers were flanked by Las Vegas police and court marshals as they left the Clark County Regional Justice Centre.
Under terms of the plea agreement, Mars’s conviction can be erased if he meets the terms of the deal and stays out of trouble for a year. The judge set a January 18 date for him to return to court next year.
Mars acknowledged having 2.6g of cocaine when he was arrested after a nightclub performance at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas last September. Police said he told the arresting officer he had never used drugs before.
Mars’s Los Angeles lawyer, Blair Berk, said the singer appreciated the chance he was getting as a first-time offender to have the felony charge dismissed.
The judge made sure Mars understood that he could face probation or up to four years in state prison if he violates the terms of his probation.
“You understand the penalty range?” she asked. “Four years,” Mars replied.
The former child entertainer from Hawaii began his career at the age of four as an Elvis impersonator. He moved to Los Angeles in 2002.
His label, Elektra, announced yesterday that Mars would headline with recording artist Janelle Monae on a North American tour dubbed Hooligans in Wondaland.