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Tiger Woods makes plea bargain after arrest on car charge

By Terry Spencer

Tiger Woods has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) - but agreed to enter a diversion programme that would see the charge dropped later this year.

Douglas Duncan, attorney for the 41-year-old golf superstar, entered the plea.

Woods - one of the most successful golfers of all-time - did not appear at the Palm Beach County courthouse in Florida.

Prosecutor Adrienne Ellis said Woods has agreed to plead guilty to reckless driving at an October 25 hearing and enter the county's programme for first-time DUI offenders.

"He is not being treated any different than anyone else," Ms Ellis said.

Under the plea deal prosecutors would drop the DUI charge from his arrest in May when he was found asleep in his Mercedes-Benz, apparently under the influence of a prescription painkiller and an anti-insomnia drug. No alcohol was found in his system.

In the diversion programme Woods will spend a year on probation, pay a $250 (£193) fine and court costs, attend DUI school, perform 50 hours of community service, attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged, and other conditions.

If convicted of DUI, Woods would have faced a fine of between $500 (£385) and $1,000 (£770), had his car impounded for 10 days and other conditions.

He also could have been jailed for up to six months, although that was unlikely, received probation and lost his driver's licence for six months to a year.

Woods was arrested at 2am on May 29 about 15 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida, when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked awkwardly on the side of the road. Woods did not know where he was when asked by officers, and he stumbled through a field sobriety test, police dashboard camera video showed.

He told officers he was taking the painkiller Vicodin and Xanax, which treats anxiety and insomnia, to cope with his fourth back surgery in April.

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