Judge Dismisses Britney Spears Hit-&-Run Case As Custody Battle Continues



A Judge today dismissed a hit-and-run case against pop star Britney Spears after her lawyer revealed an out-of-court settlement was reached with the person whose car she struck in a parking lot.

But the 25-year-old performer is still on the hook for a misdemeanour count of driving without a valid licence in connection with the August 6 fender bender in Los Angeles, said City Attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan.

Spears's lawyer today entered a not guilty plea on her behalf for that charge. She was not in court and is not required to be present for the next hearing, set for November 26.

Britney had faced jail sentence

Spears had faced up to six months in jail and a $US1000 fine on each of the two counts she was originally charged with.

But the judge agreed to drop the hit-and-run case once the civil claim stemming from the incident was resolved, Mr Mateljan said.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Video footage on TMZ.com of Spears's auto mishap shows her driving a convertible into a parked Mercedes-Benz, then asking bystanders if she "hurt" the other car before walking away without leaving a note. She was charged a month later.

Mr Mateljan said a first-time conviction for driving without a licence would typically result in probation and a fine, not jail time.

Spears's one-time nightclub cohort, socialite Paris Hilton, served three weeks in jail earlier this year for driving on a suspended license in violation of probation for a prior drunken-driving case.

Britney Spears is also due in court today, Friday for a hearing in her ongoing custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline. She was reported earlier this week to have regained visitation rights to the couple's two young sons.

At a late-morning hearing, Spears' lawyer was expected to argue that the pop star has complied with court orders and should regain the shared custody she lost earlier this month.

The singer and her ex-husband were expected in court later in the day.

Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon, who has said there is evidence Spears is a "habitual, frequent and continuous" user of drugs and alcohol, withdrew approval for her to even visit the children after finding she had failed to comply with some conditions for shared custody.

He later withdrew the ban and allowed her to visit Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1 — but only in the presence of a court-approved monitor.

The order by Gordon was tough and unambiguous.

Spears was to undergo random drug and alcohol tests and meet weekly with a parenting coach who would report back to the court about her parenting skills. Spears and Federline also were prohibited from making derogatory remarks about each other in their children's presence and from using "corporal punishment" to discipline them.

Both parents also were ordered to complete the court's "Parenting Without Conflict" class.

The custody fight has played out on a public stage, with paparazzi and celebrity Web sites reporting on the former couple's every move — including sightings of Spears driving with her sons and a monitor in Beverly Hills.

On Thursday, another Spears lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her on a misdemeanor charge of driving without a valid driver's license.

Michael Flanagan said Spears recently obtained a California license and he hoped the charge would be dismissed.

At the same hearing, a Superior Court judge dismissed a hit-and-run charge stemming from an Aug. 6 accident. Flanagan said his client had paid an undisclosed amount to the woman whose car the star hit in a Studio City parking lot.

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