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Al Gore's son agrees for drug diversion program to avoid criminal charges

Al Gore's son pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana and other drugs, but a judge said the plea could be withdrawn and the charges dropped if he successfully completes a drug diversion program.

Authorities have said they found drugs in Al Gore III's car after the 24-year-old was pulled over July 4 for going 100 mph (160 kph) in his Toyota Prius.

He pleaded guilty on Monday to two felony counts of drug possession, two misdemeanor counts of drug possession without a prescription, and one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession, the district attorney's office said.

Jaime Coulter, senior deputy district attorney, said Gore's sentencing will be continued until Feb. 7. If he has complied with all the conditions of the diversion program, the sentencing will be continued again for another year, with charges possibly being dropped in 2009.

"At that point, he will be able to withdraw his guilty plea as if he never entered it," Coulter said.

Gore has been at a live-in treatment center since his arrest, said Allan Stokke, his attorney.

"He's actually doing more than what other people do as far as treatment goes," Stokke said. "He's got great family support."

Gore's parents did not attend the hearing at the request of their son, but they were in California to support him, Stokke said. The family had no comment, said Kalee Kreider, a spokeswoman.

Gore was treated the same as other defendants with no prior convictions for drug charges and no criminal record, according to a defense attorney not involved in the case.

"It passes the sniff test," said lawyer Rosanne Faul, who specializes in DUI and drug cases. "As far as first-time offenders and drug diversion, it doesn't sound like he's getting special treatment."

Deputies who pulled over Gore said they discovered less than an ounce of marijuana and a variety of medications, including Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall. Authorities said he did not have a prescription for any of those medications. Gore also was charged with a traffic infraction for speeding.

The son of the former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee was previously arrested for marijuana possession in Maryland in 2003, when he was a student at Harvard University. Gore completed substance abuse counseling to settle those charges.

He now lives in Los Angeles and is an associate publisher of GOOD, a magazine aimed at young people that is about philanthropy.

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