SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A $100,000 bench warrant was issued Thursday for Griffin O'Neal, the oldest son of actor Ryan O'Neal, when he failed to appear for sentencing in a case in which he admitted driving on drugs and causing a head-on crash in North County that injured him and the other driver.
Defense attorney Heather Boxeth told Judge Eugenia Eyherabide that her 47-year-old client, who was arrested New Year's Eve for allegedly roughing up his wife, bailed out of jail early Thursday morning and checked himself into a residential rehabilitation facility.
"He should have come to court," the judge told Boxeth.
The attorney maintained that O'Neal knew the sentencing was going to be postponed because Boxeth hadn't received the probation report in a timely fashion and couldn't prepare a statement in mitigation.
The attorney said she had no idea who bailed the defendant out of custody. She said O'Neal had been sober for five years before falling off the wagon and drinking on New Year's Eve at his Ramona home, where he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
No one was injured in the Dec. 31 incident, his attorney said, adding that checking into a residential rehabilitation facility was "a responsible thing to do."
But Deputy District Attorney Vanessa DuVall requested a $250,000 warrant for O'Neal's arrest, saying the defendant pushed his wife out of the way in an attempt to drink and drive. He has been charged with misdemeanor battery.
O'Neal pleaded guilty in November to DUI causing injury and being a felon in possession of a gun and admitted a 1992 conviction for shooting into his ex-girlfriend's unoccupied vehicle.
He faces a sentence between probation and four years in prison. O'Neal was on probation for a 2007 DUI conviction when the accident occurred last Aug. 2 about 1 p.m. near San Diego Safari Park. He was arrested a month later.
DuVall said Griffin was charged after toxicology tests showed he had amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and Xanax in his system at the time of the crash. She said a loaded firearm, a shotgun and ammunition for both were found in O'Neal's car.
Boxeth told a judge last year that her client was trying to come to the aid of his 26-year-old half-brother when he got behind the wheel the day of the accident.
Redmond O'Neal, son of Ryan O'Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett, was arrested in Santa Monica the same day, after police found heroin in his car during a traffic stop. He has a lengthy history of drug problems.
Griffin O'Neal appeared in several films in his younger years, including "Escape Artist," "April Fool's Day" and "Assault of the Killer Bimbos."
He drew an 18-day jail sentence in 1987 for failing to perform community service after he was convicted of reckless boating in an accident that killed the son of director Francis Ford Coppola.
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