US & Canada

Paris Hilton avoids prison after guilty plea

Media captionParis Hilton told the judge she had cocaine in her purse, before leaving the courtroom to face a media scrum

A US judge has given Paris Hilton a one-year, suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to drug possession and obstructing a police officer.

The 29-year-old socialite was also fined $2,000 (£1,280), and ordered to do 200 hours of community service.

Ms Hilton was arrested last month by Las Vegas police, after they stopped a car in which she was a passenger and 0.8g of cocaine was found in her purse.

She faces a year in jail if she is arrested in Las Vegas in the next year.

Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure told Ms Hilton that the purpose of the sentence he handed down was "that you change your conduct".

"The Clark County Detention Center is not the Waldorf-Astoria," he warned, referring to the famous hotel in New York where Ms Hilton lived during her childhood and which was once owned by her family.

Ms Hilton could have been jailed for up to four years on the cocaine possession charge, but she agreed a plea deal with prosecutors.

She was charged with obstruction because she initially told police the purse and cocaine were not hers.

Her lawyer, David Chesnoff, told reporters that she would attend an outpatient substance abuse treatment programme.

"I know Ms Hilton is contrite and accepts the responsibility for her actions," he said. "She was treated like anybody else would be treated under the circumstances."

Ms Hilton spent 23 days in jail in Los Angeles in 2007 for violating probation on an alcohol-related reckless driving charge.

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