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Halle Berry Pleads 'No Contest'

Halle Berry at the Golden Globes
AP
Actress Halle Berry, pleading no contest Wednesday to misdemeanor charges for leaving the scene of an accident, was sentenced to a fine, community service and three years probation.

CBS News Correspondent David Dow reports Beverly Hills Superior Court judge Charles Rubin ordered Berry to pay $13,500 in fines and penalties, and to perform 200 hours of community service. She also is to make restitution in "all civil matters" arising from the February accident, in which Berry and another driver were both injured.

In California, a plea of "no contest" carries the same weight as a conviction although the defendant has not admitted guilt.

Berry, 33, said she was "very relieved" that the "true facts" had come out in the case, referring to the conclusion by investigators that there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol involved in the crash.

Berry had faced a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Berry was driving a rented Chevrolet Blazer Feb. 23 when she ran a red light and crashed into another car on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. The actress, who left the scene of the accident before authorities arrived, suffered a gash to her head that required 20 stitches to close. The woman driving the other vehicle broke her wrist and claims she now suffers neck and back pain.

That woman, Hetal Raythatha, has since sued the actress in a civil suit seeking damages. The lawsuit alleged that Berry had been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which the actress has denied.

In charging Berry with a misdemeanor rather than a felony hit-and-run charge, prosecutors said they took into account the fact that she reported the accident to a police officer at the hospital where she sought treatment and her statement that the crash had left her in a dazed state.

The Cleveland-born actress, who starred opposite Warren Beatty in the political satire Bulworth, won a Golden Globe Award in January for her title role in last year's HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

In December, Berry announced that she was engaged to marry up-and-coming R&B singer Eric Benet.

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