The life of celebrities, to an outsider or everyday person, seem lavish, filled with glitz, glamor and glory, and far and away better than anything the layman experiences. There are the Hollywood parties, the name-recognition, the status and the endorsements that bring in money with relatively little effort.
It’s not all Hollywood living for most celebrities, though. Multiple celebrities have described their status as something they’d give up if given the opportunity, citing paparazzi harassing them at any given opportunity and living a life under a microscope, their every move being documented for the world to see via social media. However, when it comes to breaking the law, being in the public eye can be both a gift and a curse.
The curse comes with being in the public eye. Getting a DUI, to a normal person, means serving time behind bars and carrying a criminal record for the next years or few decades, depending on your state and how many prior offenses you carry. If it’s your first offense, there is a reasonable chance that you’ll avoid time spent behind bars and instead be given some combination of a license suspension, a hefty fine and probation. For celebrities, however, even a minor charge means the world will know about your misdeed, with websites like TMZ or E! News constantly covering celebrities who break the law.
Being in the public eye may seem like a large drawback of celebrity status, but the potential benefits when it comes to criminal activity may very well outweigh the drawbacks.
The fact remains that, according to most, the cells and treatment that celebrities experience behind bars are more accommodating than those of the average person. Famous rapper Lil Wayne described his time served behind bars as “not that difficult,” as he reportedly was given a cell with a window and spent a good amount of time playing Uno and cooking with his fellow inmates.
There are also reports of celebrities avoiding strip searches and cavity searches, being given preferential treatment, isolated in their own cells and being allowed more freedoms than what an average man or woman may expect when serving a prison sentence.
Those lenient and often boring on cozy conditions of celebrities within prison walls only come to those who are actually sentenced to serve time. Often, when a celebrity or person otherwise in the public eye is caught committing a crime (or is suspected of committing one), the preferential treatment comes into play before he or she even reaches a cell.
Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Khloe Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Kid Rock have famously avoided stays in jail for what some believe was simply their standing in the public eye. Hilton was released from prison early for unspecified medical reasons, while Bieber avoided serving time for vandalism, street racing and suspected DUI by paying damages and attending anger management classes. Similarly, an officer was fired after failing to administer a sobriety test and asking for an autograph from singer Kid Rock after he was pulled over driving recklessly in the early morning.
While there are certainly drawbacks to a life in the limelight, sentencing for similar crimes seem to result in lighter punishment if you’re a household name.