LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – Al Gore's son pleaded guilty Monday to possessing marijuana and other drugs, but a judge said the plea could be withdrawn and the charges dropped if he successfully completes a drug diversion program.
He pleaded guilty to two felony counts of drug possession, two misdemeanor counts of drug possession without a prescription, and one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession, the district attorney's office said.
Jaime Coulter, senior deputy district attorney, said Gore's sentencing will be continued until Feb. 7. If he has complied with all the conditions of the diversion program, the sentencing will be continued again for another year, with charges possibly being dropped in 2009.
"At that point, he will be able to withdraw his guilty plea as if he never entered it," Coulter said.
Gore has been at a live-in treatment center since his arrest, said Allan Stokke, his attorney.
"He's actually doing more than what other people do as far as treatment goes," Stokke said. "He's got great family support."
Gore's parents, former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper Gore, did not attend the hearing at the request of their son, but they were in California to support him, Stokke said.
The family had no comment on the case, said Kalee Kreider, a Gore family spokeswoman.
Gore was treated the same as other defendants with no prior convictions for drug charges and no criminal record, according to a defense attorney who is not involved in his case.
"It passes the sniff test," said lawyer Rosanne Faul, who specializes in DUI and drug cases. "As far as first-time offenders and drug diversion, it doesn't sound like he's getting special treatment."
Deputies who pulled over Al Gore III said they discovered less than an ounce of marijuana and a variety of medications, including Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall. Authorities said Gore did not have a prescription for any of those medications.
Gore also was charged with a traffic infraction for speeding.
He was previously arrested for marijuana possession in Maryland in 2003, when he was a student at Harvard University. Gore completed substance abuse counseling to settle those charges.
In 2002, he was ticketed by military police for driving under the influence just outside Fort Myer in suburban Virginia, but he was not taken into custody.
Two years earlier, Gore was cited by the North Carolina Highway Patrol for driving 97 mph in a 55-mph zone. Prosecutors agreed to drop a reckless driving charge but fined Gore $125 for speeding and suspended his driving privileges in that state.
Gore now lives in Los Angeles and is an associate publisher of GOOD, a magazine about philanthropy and aimed at young people.