SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. – "Jersey Shore" cast member Deena Cortese got a costly reminder Tuesday of a lesson parents tell their children: Make sure you stay on the sidewalk.
And just to underscore that point, she got a talking-to from her mother outside municipal court, where Cortese had just pleaded guilty to failing to use the sidewalk and paid a $106 fine.
"He doesn't want to see you in that courtroom again," Deena's mom, Joann Cortese, said, referring to the judge who had imposed the fine. Then they hugged and kissed goodbye — on the sidewalk.
"Love you," her mom said.
"Love you, too," Deena replied.
The pint-sized reality star also had to pay $33 in court costs but avoided a criminal conviction by pleading guilty to a violation of the motor vehicle code.
Police arrested her on June 10, saying she was dancing in a roadway and interfering with the flow of traffic. But municipal prosecutor Kim Pascarella said the prosecution did not have enough evidence to prove that charge, agreeing instead to allow her to plead guilty to the lesser offense of not using a sidewalk when one was provided.
"I'm sorry if I caused any trouble," Cortese said, standing before the same bench where co-star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi pleaded guilty to disturbing other beachgoers in 2010.
Municipal Court Judge Dan Sahin gently rebuked Cortese for diverting police officers from more pressing concerns.
"Ms. Cortese, please keep in mind you're taking police officers away from a job they have to do," the judge said. Responding to the call, investigating, arresting her and bringing her back to police headquarters all took valuable time that could have better been spent serving others who needed help, he added.
"The officers here are not the New York City Police Department; we're not 1,000-strong," Sahin said. "They've got a tough job to do."
Cortese hugged her mother and wiped away a few tears as she waited in line with her lawyer, Michael Pappa, to pay the fine at the court clerk's window.
Pappa noted that the police report stated that Cortese appeared to have been drinking before the incident. On her personal website, Cortese calls herself "The Blast In A Glass."
"Deena was in the middle of the road," Pappa told The Associated Press. "Traffic was at a standstill because of summer congestion. She knew she made a mistake and she regrets what she did.
"She took this situation very seriously," he said. "She was very upset about getting arrested and having to go to the police station, and she was very apologetic to the police officers."
The judge also chided Cortese for endangering herself and others by her conduct.
"By going into traffic as she did, she placed herself in harm's way and quite possibly placed others in harm's way," Sahin said.
It was at least the third legal run-in that a "Jersey Shore" cast member has endured since the show began filming in Seaside Heights in 2009.
In addition to Polizzi's tipsy traipsing through the sand in 2010, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro was shown in an episode from the show's first season that generated an assault charge. Another man was shown taunting Ortiz and other cast members as they walked home, only to be laid out by a single punch from Ortiz-Magro, who boasted: "That's one shot! That's one shot, kid!"
Ortiz-Magro was originally charged with aggravated assault but entered a pre-trial intervention program that let him avoid criminal prosecution.
A native of the New Egypt section of New Jersey's Plumsted township, Cortese is a longtime friend of Polizzi, and joined the cast in its third season following the departure of cast member Angelina Pivarnick.
The cast is nearing the end of its sixth season of filming in and around Seaside Heights.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC