Bruno Mars to Plead Guilty in Felony Cocaine Case

"Just the Way You Are" singer could have possession charge stricken from his record if he stays clean for a year

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Peter Hernandez, aka Bruno Mars, center, appears in court to waive an evidentiary hearing for a felony cocaine possession charge and receive a date in state court for a plea, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, in Las Vegas. The deal will be for him to plead guilty as a first offender to a charge that will be dismissed if he stays out of trouble for a year, completes community service and drug counseling and pays a $2,000 fine. Mars was accompanied by his defense attorneys Blair Berk, second from left, David Chesnoff, second from right and Richard Schonfeld, right. Deputy district attorney David Schubert, left, looked on.

    It's almost as good as a get out of jail free card.

    Pop star Bruno Mars told a Las Vegas judge Friday that he'll plead guilty in state court on Valentine's Day to a felony cocaine charge that would be wiped from his record if he stays out of trouble for a year.

    Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, and a trio of defense lawyers agreed not to contest police accounts that he possessed 2.6 grams of cocaine when he was arrested early Sept. 19 after a Las Vegas nightclub performance.

    Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joseph Sciscento set the Feb. 14 date for his plea — the day after the 53rd Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles.

    The 25-year-old singer-songwriter is nominated for seven Grammy awards including best male pop vocal.

    Defense lawyer Blair Berk said her client appreciated the chance he was receiving as a first offender.

    "We're extremely pleased the charge against Bruno is going to be dismissed," she said.

    The plea deal worked out last week calls for Mars to spend a year on probation, pay a $2,000 fine, perform 200 hours of community service and complete drug counseling.

    The "Just the Way You Are" singer co-wrote "(Expletive) You" and was featured on B.o.B's "Nothin' on You."

    He spent a night in the Clark County jail in Las Vegas following his arrest in a casino restroom after a nightclub performance at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The hotel-casino is separate from the restaurant chain with the same name.

    Police said Mars handed over a bag containing 2.6 grams of cocaine, and told the arresting officer he'd never used drugs before.

    Mars was a child entertainer in Hawaii before moving to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue his entertainment career.