16 Famous Musicians Who Have DUIs

musicians with DUIs guns n' roses songs zxl rose and slash on stage performing
Rio de Janeiro, September 24, 2017. Singer Axl Rose and guitarrist Slash during Guns N 'Roses performance during the show at Rock in Rio 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Image from Shutterstock.

Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 08:03 pm

It’s always heartbreaking to see our favorite musicians, those we’ve looked up to, making bad choices. It will often result in the seemingly perfect image we tend to build, shattering right before our eyes with the reading of that headline. These famous musicians are the perfect example, as they made the choice to take their ingestion of drugs and alcohol too far by deciding to get behind the wheel. As much as we hate to say it, we’re glad that justice was served when appropriate in hopes that they wouldn’t harm themselves or others again. Unfortunately, it would take a few times for some.

Here are 16 famous musicians who have DUIs.  

1. Eric Carmen

piano keys
(No licensable photos available) Image by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

Raspberries lead vocalist Eric Carmen kicks off the list of famous musicians who have DUIs thanks to his arrest in 2008. The famed guitarist and keyboardist behind hits like “All by Myself” and “Hungry Eyes” was arrested on a drunk driving suspicion after three different events occurred.

First, he crashed his car into a fire hydrant. Then, he handed police officers a credit card instead of his license and finally was found with a half-empty bottle of Grey Goose vodka sitting in the passenger seat. He was swiftly taken into custody after a breathalyzer test proved his blood alcohol level to be three times the legal limit.

2. Nick Carter

nick carter's net worth in a jean jacket with his hand outstretched
Nick Carter on stage for NBC Today Show Concert Series with the BACKSTREET BOYS, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY, June 10, 2005. Image from Shutterstock.

Nick Carter may be one of the five singing Backstreet Boys, but he’s also an accomplished guitarist. Unfortunately, though, he is one of many musicians who went down a rough path legally. Among them were two DUIs. The second came in March 2005 after he was pulled over and subsequently found to have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. He later pled guilty to the charges and was ordered to pay a fine, take a three-month alcohol education program, and more.

“Nick Carter deeply regrets the current situation,” his publicist later said in a statement. “He is on doctor-prescribed medication and was unaware of its interaction possibilities.”

Related: Who is Nick Carter?

3. Axl Rose

guns n' roses songs
Rio de Janeiro, September 24, 2017. Singer Axl Rose and guitarrist Slash during Guns N ‘Roses performance during the show at Rock in Rio 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Image from Shutterstock.

Vocalist and pianist Axl Rose, best known for being the lead vocalist and lyricist for Guns N’ Roses, is yet another of the famous musicians who have DUIs where it’s the least of his worries.

Although he was charged with drunk driving and subsequently put on trial after being pulled over on the Moorpark Freeway near an off-ramp on February 9, 1995, his more significant legal issues have included statutory rape charges, assault, and property damage, just to name a few.  

Related: 20 Best Guns N’ Roses Songs

4. Rick Springfield

rick springfield on stage performing
Image from Shutterstock.

Rick Springfield seemed to do it all as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist, making the world fall in love with him when he released his hit, “Jessie’s Girl,” in 1981. Yes, he seemingly has it all, including a DUI. He earned his place among the famous musicians who have DUIs in 2011 after he was arrested for driving drunk in Malibu.

According to reports, Springfield “exhibited signs of alcohol intoxication” and later took a plea deal that involved three months in an alcohol education program and three years of probation.

Related: The Greatest Music in the 80’s

5. Bruno Mars

bruno mars at the grammy awards
Image from Shutterstock

Bruno Mars doesn’t just have smooth vocals. He has smooth moves on various instruments, including the guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, ukulele, congas, and bass. Unfortunately, he’s not so smooth regarding run-ins with the law.

While the “Just the Way You Are” singer has never formally been charged with a DUI, he even seemed to admit that he should have, following an arrest on September 19, 2010, on a possession of cocaine charge.

Mars later admitted to GQ Magazine, “I was young, man! I was in [expletive Vegas. … I wasn’t thinking. I was given a number one record, and I’m out doing dumb [expletive],” he continued before admitting that he previously lied to authorities about not having done cocaine before. “I don’t know where that came from. I was really intoxicated. I was really drunk. So a lot of that is a big blur, and I try every day to forget.”

Related: Who is Bruno Mars?

6. Richie Sambora

orianthi and richie sambora on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Richie Sambora, best known for being the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi, has dealt with a string of alcohol problems throughout his career. While he gets points for trying to manage his addiction by entering a rehabilitation center in 2007, he sadly was unable to make it stick. He was arrested for drunk driving in Laguna Beach, California, on March 26, 2008.

After being placed on probation and being ordered to pay a $390 fine and complete a driver’s education course, he later entered rehab again in April 2011.

7. Billy Joel

billy joel playing piano on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Billy Joel is legendary. After all, he’s the “Piano Man,” but that doesn’t mean he’s immune from the famous musicians who have DUIs list.

He has been arrested four different times on the charge. He was 21 years old when he had his first in 1974. He seemed to have learned his lesson for a while until he was arrested two more times in 1982 and 1987, respectively. Then, finally, he was 61 when he was arrested in 2013 for yet another DUI infraction. You could say he is one of the luckiest of the famous musicians who have DUIs, though, because, despite the arrests, he has never been fully convicted on the charges.

Related: Billy Joel At Miller Park

8. Glen Campbell

glen campbell
LOS ANGELES – FEB 12: GLEN CAMPBELL, KIM & ASHLEY arriving to Grammy Awards 2012 on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Image from Shutterstock.

Glen Campbell was one of the singers and guitarists in the good ole days of country music, and he is forever epitomized as our “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

He struggled with alcohol and drug addiction throughout his life, though. Although he eventually stopped his habits in 1987, thanks to his fourth wife, Kim Woollen, he relapsed by 2003. That year, he pled guilty to drunk driving in Arizona and for leaving the scene of an accident. As a result, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Related: 16 Old Country Songs

9. Wynonna Judd

wynonna judd performing at an outdoor theater
Image from Shutterstock.

Singer and guitarist Wynonna Judd, best known for being one-half of the famed country mother-daughter duo The Judds, was arrested for drunk driving in late 2003.

After being pulled over for speeding, the “Mama He’s Crazy” singer reportedly smelled of liquor and had dilated pupils. What sealed her fate, however, was her inability to recall how many drinks she imbibed before getting behind the wheel.

Related: The Best 18 Female Country Singers of All Time

10. Chad Kroeger

chad kroeger on stage holding a guitar
Image from Shutterstock.

“Look at this photograph. Every time I do, it makes me laugh.” We’re pretty sure Chad Kroeger, lead singer and guitarist of Nickelback, wasn’t singing this that 2008 night in Surrey.

The “Photograph” singer was convicted of a drunk driving charge following a traffic stop in Surrey. He was later convicted and given a $600 fine and a year-long suspension from driving.

Related: 28 Most Hated Famous Bands of All Time

11. George Michael

george michael singing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

It’s no secret that George Michael was one of the best-selling musicians of all time. That didn’t stop him from getting into a lot of legal trouble throughout his life. Among them were multiple charges of driving under the influence. The first came from a drug impairment in 2007, for which he pleaded guilty.

In 2010, he earned his second DUI charge after crashing his car into a photo shop in London. That charge led to him serving eight eights in jail and a five-year suspension on his driver’s license.

Related: How Did George Michael Die? A Sad Christmas Day

12. David Cassidy

david cassidy on stage performing
Image from Shutterstock.

Guitarist and pianist David Cassidy of the famous The Partridge Family shattered the innocent family image on November 3, 2010, after he was arrested for driving under the influence. That wasn’t his qualification for the famous musicians who have DUIs list, however.

He was later arrested again in New York on August 21, 2013, for the same. Less than two years later, he was sentenced to a six-month license suspension and a fine. Yet, he still didn’t learn his lesson.

His third DUI charge came on January 10, 2014, after he made an illegal right turn at a red light. After spending a night in jail, he was placed on five years of probation and went into an inpatient rehabilitation center. Perhaps the third time’s the charm to finally learn the lesson because there haven’t been reports of a DUI since.

13. Vince Neil

paul stanley and vince neil in an interview
Image from Shutterstock.

Vince Neil is best known for being the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, but he’s just as well known for his mounting legal issues and is one of the famous musicians who have DUIs that didn’t learn their lesson the first or even the second time.

On December 9, 1984, he made the sobering choice to drive drunk around Los Angeles. Unfortunately, he hit an oncoming vehicle. The crash killed Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley, drummer of Hanoi Rocks, who was in the passenger seat. This led to his DUI charge being accompanied by a vehicular manslaughter charge, for which he spent 30 days in jail and five years of probation. Yet, he didn’t learn his lesson.

In 2007, he was arrested again under suspicion of driving under the influence, although those charges were eventually dropped. In June 2010, he was arrested a third time for drunk driving and was later sentenced to 15 days in jail, followed by 15 days under house arrest.

Related: Vince Neil’s Net Worth

14. Keanu Reeves

keanu reeves on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

You may know Keanu Reeves more for acting in films like the Matrix series or Point Break, but he has also made headways as a musician in the alternative rock band Dogstar. While he’s remained away from scandal for several years, that was not the case in 1993 when he was arrested for drunk and reckless driving as well as resisting an officer.

Reeves later said of the incident that it served as a “wake-up call” for him and has become one of the famous musicians who have DUIs that learned the error of his ways, as he quit partying altogether and limited his drinks on very slim occasions. Unfortunately, on April 2, 2019, it seems he may have relapsed after he was arrested on suspicion of a DUI in Los Angeles.

Related: 32 Interesting Weezer Facts

15. Randy Travis

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Image from Shutterstock.

Randy Travis was, for so long, one of the reigning kings of country music. With his smooth vocals and a guitar in hand, he gave us hits like “I Told You So,” “Three Wooden Crosses,” and “Forever and Ever, Amen.”

Unfortunately, he started into a downward spiral in August 2012 when he was charged with a DUI after crashing his car into a construction zone. He later pleaded guilty to the charges and received a 180-day suspended jail sentence, a $2,000 fine, and two years of probation.

16. Scott Weiland

scott weiland performing on stage
Image from Shutterstock

Scott Weiland, best known for being the lead vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots, left a legacy musically, but his career was not without its low points. In October 2003, he was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol after hitting a parked van on the corner of Melrose and Genessee in Los Angeles. After being taken into custody, he posted bail shortly after for $15,000.

“Sometimes God offers you circumstances that sort of fall in your lap that you thought wouldn’t happen. Getting busted spurred my desire to seriously get back into recovery,” Weiland later told reporters.

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Written by Anna Paulson


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