Nicole Richie has won a delay over the trial she is facing on charges that she drove under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The decision by a California judge to grant a postponement request from Richie's lawyers comes after the media frenzy, which surrounded the temporary release from jail of her 'Simple Life' co-star Paris Hilton. Richie, 25, told US chat show host David Letterman earlier this month that she was worried she might be jailed herself after being arrested by police in December amid claims she was driving the wrong way down a Los Angeles freeway.
Detectives say the daughter of singer Lionel Richie admitted to smoking marijuana and taking the painkiller Vicodin at the time of her arrest, but the reality TV star pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence in February.
If Richie is found guilty by a court, she could face a minimum punishment of 90 days in prison under Californian legal rules because she has a prior conviction for driving under the influence. Although she has now secured a temporary reprieve over the case, Glendale superior court commissioner Steven Lubell warned yesterday that he would not delay the start of the trial again.
Richie's trial date has been moved back to July 11, after her lawyers appealed against a June 25 start.
A spokeswoman for the LA county district attorney's office confirmed that the trial would now commence within ten days of the new date.
But she denied Richie's case had been influenced by that of her friend Paris Hilton - now back in jail serving time for violating her probation in a drink driving case after she was temporarily released for home detention due to undisclosed medical reasons.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Richie is hoping to avoid jail herself amid rumours that she is pregnant with the child of rocker boyfriend Joel Madden. "Nicole is kind of hoping her pregnancy will keep her out of jail," an unnamed friend of the star told a New York paper earlier this month
Nicole Richie says that her rocker boyfriend fits her ideal 'type' of man. Nicole told a magazine, "I like really pale, I like really skinny, I like people that kind of look homeless. Back in the day it would have been David Bowie or Jimi Hendrix."
Nicole - the adopted daughter of Lionel Richie - has been criticised for being too skinny, but insists she eats all the time. She said: "I eat everything. I always have contrary to what people think. It happens to a lot of people, and I don't understand why people don't understand that it happens to me. I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't really thin at one point, because I was. But it had nothing to do with not eating."