Paris Hilton is likely to avoid jail

Paris Hilton faces up to four years in a Nevada prison if convicted of the felony charge of possessing 0.8 grams of “powder cocaine” in a purse.

But the Los Angeles Times, quoting a legal expert, said Hilton was more likely to be sentenced to a diversion program if prosecutors are able to prove their case.

According to a police report, a LVMPD Traffic Officer pulled along Cy Waits and Paris Hilton’s Cadillac Escalade and “smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle”.

“As she began to open it, I saw a small bindle of what I believed to be cocaine in a clear baggy begin to fall from the purse and into my hand. I then immediately took the purse and dropped the bindle back on the top (waiting for another officer to witness the recovery),” writes the officer in the report.

Hilton told police she had borrowed the purse from a friend, and she thought the cocaine was gum.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Dmitry Gorin, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor and noted defense attorney, as saying that prosecutors would need to prove that it was Hilton’s purse and also have to overcome any doubts that the marijuana smell came from her vehicle.

Similar arrests are often made on the Las Vegas Strip, and most end up in some kind of diversion program unless the person has a lengthy prior record, he said.

Hilton has had dust-ups with the law, but she is not quite a hardened criminal. She spent three weeks in a Los Angeles jail in 2007 for violating probation on a reckless driving charge. In July, she was detained on suspicion of possessing marijuana in South Africa following a World Cup soccer match, but was released by police and not charged.

After her latest arrest, her lawyers issued a statement encouraging people “not to rush to judgment until all of the facts have been dealt with in a court of law.”

According to Reuters, there was no further statement from the lawyers on Monday, and court officials in Las Vegas also declined comment.