George Michael admits drug-drive charge

LONDON Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:53pm BST

George Michael is escorted out of Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in London, August 24, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

George Michael is escorted out of Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in London, August 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - Singer George Michael admitted on Tuesday that he had been under the influence of cannabis when he crashed his car into a north London shop in July.

The judge at the magistrate's court who heard the 47-year-old star's guilty plea warned Michael he could face time in jail when he returns to be sentenced on September 14.

"I make it clear the options in respect of sentence remain open, including the power to imprison," Robin McPhee told the court, according to the Press Association.

"It is a serious matter. Your driving was extremely poor and there was an accident. There is also a conviction from three years ago."

Michael, who became famous as part of the band Wham! before launching a successful solo career, was banned from driving for two years in 2007 and sentenced to 100 hours of community service after admitting driving when unfit due to drugs.

The court heard how a police patrol found Michael slumped at the wheel of his Range Rover car in the early hours of July 4 after smashing into the facade of a photographic shop in Hampstead.

Police suspected Michael had taken drugs as he appeared "spaced out," was sweating profusely and had dilated pupils.

The star was arrested and taken to Hampstead police station where he was found to be carrying cannabis cigarettes. A blood sample was taken and chemicals linked to cannabis were found in his system. He had not been drinking alcohol. In 2008, Michael apologized to fans after being arrested and cautioned by police for possession of drugs and promised then to "sort himself out."

Grammy award winner Michael has sold an estimated 100 million albums as a solo artist, winning a global fan base with hits like "Careless Whisper" and "Faith."

(Writing by Mike Collett-White)

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