Celebrity chef Cat Cora avoids jail time for DUI

Aug. 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM ET

Santa Barbara Police Department /
In this image provided by the Santa Barbara Police Department, chef Cat Cora is seen in a police booking photo taken June 28, 2012 in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Celebrity chef Cat Cora will not be doing any jail time for her DUI citation in June as long as she meets the requirements of the court after pleading no contest on Friday.

The Food Network star pled no contest to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher and was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $2,386, according to a spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney. She also has to attend nine months of DUI school and received a 120-day suspended jail sentence that she will not serve as long as she fulfills the other requirements. Her penalties are the standard protocol for first-time DUI offenders, according to the spokesperson, so there’s no preferential celebrity treatment here.

Story: Mugshot of celeb chef Cat Cora released after DUI citation

Cora, 45, is best known for her role as an Iron Chef on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and as the co-host of Bravo's “Around the World in 80 Plates.” On June 17, she was arrested for DUI after rear-ending another vehicle at 6:15 p.m. at low speed in her 2007 Chevy Tahoe. No one suffered any injuries, but the female driver of the 2001 BMW 325i told officers who came to the scene that she believed Cora was intoxicated. Cora told police she had consumed three bottles of beer.

"I deeply regret my decision to drive that evening after my designated driver became unavailable," Cora said in a statement shortly after the incident. "I learned a very important lesson from this experience and take full accountability for my actions. This will never happen again."

Cora’s blood-alcohol level was determined to be .20 and .19 from two breath samples taken at the scene, according to the police report. Cora also had a blood sample taken at Goleta Valley Hospital shortly afterward that measured her BAC at .19, more than twice the legal limit.

Cora was cited for DUI and taken to the Sobering Center in Santa Barbara, where non-violent, cooperative people are sent until they sober up and are released. She has no prior DUI citations in Santa Barbara.

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