For most celebrities, getting smacked with a driving under the influence is an instant image crisis. For Paris Hilton, it could be a career boost.
"Paris Hilton being arrested just makes her more famous," said veteran publicist Michael Levine. "She has devoted her entire adult life to appearing to be the princess of parties."
Hilton's publicist, Elliot Mintz, confirmed the star's festive nature Thursday: "She's been known to have a drink or two."
Hilton was arrested by Los Angeles police officers in Hollywood early Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence. During the arrest she was briefly handcuffed. Hilton was booked at Hollywood's police station at 1:43 a.m. and released shortly afterward, said Nick Velasquez, a spokesman for the city attorney's office.
This is Hilton's first drunk-driving arrest, Mintz said, adding that he does not expect the incident to hurt her image.
"The people who enjoy Paris as a comedian or actress on TV or as a singer on her CD , a woman who seems to have captured the imagination of so many people, I don't know if this is going to have any impact on them one way or another," he said. "But, of course, she regrets what took place."
Hours after her release, Hilton defended herself to radio host Ryan Seacrest during his Thursday morning show on local station KIIS-FM.
"It was nothing," said Hilton, 25.
The singer, actress, handbag designer and heiress to the Hilton hotel-chain fortune said she was "starving because I had not ate all day" and possibly "speeding a little bit" in her Mercedes-Benz SLR on her way to grab a bite.
"I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger," she said.
Hilton, who made her singing debut last week with the release of her eponymous CD, said she spent Wednesday filming a music video and having dinner with her sister, Nicky, and some friends before heading to a charity event sponsored by rocker Dave Navarro.
Hilton said she had "one margarita" at the event.
Just last month, she told the Los Angeles Times that she "doesn't like the taste of alcohol."
"It grosses me out," she said.
Hilton told Seacrest that police stopped her early Thursday for speeding.
An LAPD spokeswoman said Hilton was driving erratically.
"Officers observed the vehicle driving in an erratic manner so they pulled the car over," officer Marjan Mobasser said Thursday.
Hilton's blood-alcohol level was .08 percent _ the minimum to warrant an arrest, Mintz said.
The arresting officers were "really nice," Hilton said.
"There was a lot of paparazzi around so I think they were trying to make a statement," she told Seacrest. "Everything I do is blown out of proportion and it really hurts my feelings."
Hilton is expected to be arraigned Sept. 28, said Velasquez of the city attorney's office. Penalties for a first drunk-driving arrest typically include a fine, probation, an alcohol-rehabilitation program, license suspension and "other DUI-related conditions" such as community service, he said.
LAPD officials said they will not release Hilton's arrest report or her mug shot.
The maximum penalty for a first misdemeanor DUI arrest is a $1,000 (Ђ785) fine and six months in jail, reports AP.
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