Springsteen Very Much Not Guilty of DUI


In November of 2020, Bruce Springsteen was arrested in a national park in New Jersey. The charges were DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and reckless driving. By February, the U.S. government had dismissed both of those charges. So, what happened?

It is worth noting that this was a federal case. As the park in New Jersey was a national park, the arrest fell under federal jurisdiction. So, the case was, formally, the “United States of America vs. Bruce Springsteen” case.

The Gateway National Recreation Area is a national park in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Up until 2018, it was perfectly legal to consume alcohol in the park. Springsteen, reportedly, was unaware that the law had changed.

An officer had pulled Springsteen over for reckless driving. When he asked the singer whether or not he had consumed any alcohol, Springsteen admitted that he had had “two small shots of tequila” while at the park.

The officer then conducted a full field sobriety test, and Springsteen observed “four out of six clues on the [horizontal gaze] test.”

Springsteen blew a breathalyzer test, and his blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) registered as .02%. The legal threshold for DUI and DWI cases is .08%, so Springsteen was only at one-quarter the blood-alcohol level to be found guilty of a crime.

The government charged Springsteen on three counts: DWI, reckless driving, and consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area. The third of those charges did stick, and the judge sentenced Springsteen to a fine of $500.

This case serves as a reminder that alcohol is not allowed to be consumed in federal parks, unless it is at your overnight campsite, or at a park-sanctioned bar or distillery.