Judge dismisses Britney Spears driver case

LOS ANGELES Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:13pm EDT

Britney Spears drives her Mercedes Benz as she leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse garage after a child custody hearing with her ex-husband regarding her two sons in Los Angeles, California October 26, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Britney Spears drives her Mercedes Benz as she leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse garage after a child custody hearing with her ex-husband regarding her two sons in Los Angeles, California October 26, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge on Tuesday dismissed a charge of driving without a license against pop star Britney Spears, after jurors said they could not reach a verdict and a prosecutor said he would not pursue a retrial.

The charge stemmed from an August 2007 collision between Spears' vehicle and another car in a Los Angeles parking lot as photographers trailed her.

Prosecutors said Spears had lived in California since May 2006 and was legally required to get a license from the state.

Her attorney argued she had a license from her home state of Louisiana and did not legally need a California license.

The jurors told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Steele they were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal, and the judge then declared a mistrial.

Spears' attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, said she got a California license last year, after the August collision, and that prosecutors should have dropped the case after that.

"If she's not a celebrity, they never charge the case," Flanagan said.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, said Spears was not treated any differently because of her fame. "The jury has spoken and we'll accept that and move on to any number of ... cases that we're handling on any given day," said the spokesman, Frank Mateljan.

Spears is working her way out of recent troubles including a battle with her ex-husband for custody of their children, bizarre behavior in public, hospitalization for psychiatric evaluation and having her father take control of her business and personal affairs.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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