MINEOLA, N.Y. » Entertainer Flavor Flav has settled criminal charges stemming from a traffic stop in suburban New York while racing to his mother’s funeral, but his legal headaches are not quite over.
Flav, whose real name is William Drayton Jr., pleaded guilty in Nassau Criminal Court today to one count of unlicensed aggravated operation of a motor vehicle.
He was arrested in January 2014 while rushing to his mother’s funeral on Long Island, and he was indicted this year on a felony charge of driving with a suspended license, speeding and two misdemeanors.
Acting state Supreme Court Judge Terrence Murphy sentenced the 56-year-old rapper and reality TV star to time served, essentially the few hours he was in custody following his arrest. He also was fined a little over $3,600.
If convicted at trial, Flav could have faced up to four years in prison. A prosecutor at today’s court proceeding had recommended a six-month sentence.
But Murphy, after lecturing the entertainer on his status as a role model and admonishing him to set an example for young people, indicated he understood there were extenuating circumstances surrounding his arrest.
Wearing his trademark clock around his neck, the rapper thanked his attorney, Todd Greenberg, and Murphy for helping settle the case. He also singled out a state trooper who drove him to his mother’s gravesite in his vehicle to make it in time for her memorial service.
"He was the greatest," Flav said of the officer.
A state police spokesman confirmed that a trooper had provided the rapper with a ride following his arrest because of the "extenuating circumstances."
A Long Island native who now lives in Las Vegas, Flav is still facing criminal charges there for an arrest in May. He faces trial Thursday on charges of misdemeanor speeding, driving under the influence of cocaine and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. He has pleaded not guilty but declined to comment today on those charges.
Flav’s lawyer in Las Vegas, Kristina Wildeveld, did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.
Flav was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 with the rap group Public Enemy.