Flavor Flav, the Roosevelt-native rapper of Public Enemy fame, admitted to driving on Long Island without a license two years after he was pulled over while en route to his mother’s funeral.
The 56-year-old hip hop artist, whose given name is William Drayton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. In exchange for his plea, a speeding charge was dropped.
“This has been going on for two long years and I’m glad it’s over,” Flav, speaking in a soft voice, told Nassau County Judge Terence Murphy.
He’s facing similar charges—plus counts of driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, open container and more—in Nevada, which he now calls home.
The New York charges came after police stopped Flav for speeding 79 mph in a 55-mph zone on the Meadowbrook State Parkway on Jan. 9, 2014, but released him on a desk appearance ticket. His license had 16 suspensions on it at the time, authorities have said.
Assistant Nassau County District Attorney Stephanie Palma asked Murphy to sentence Flav to six months in jail, but the judge instead gave the rapper time served—a few hours in jail—and ordered him to pay a $3,500 fine after lecturing him to get his act together.
“You have a personal responsibility, and your ignoring that is the basis for many of these issues,” Murphy told Flav. He added that Flav’s mother’s funeral was a “mitigating circumstance but it doesn’t give you the privilege to disobey the laws of New York State.”
Flav said through his lawyer, Todd Greeberg, that he wanted to “thank the court for your compassion and understanding” throughout the case. His demeanor was remarkably toned down from prior appearances, including one in which he rapped to reporters.
Outside the courthouse, Greenberg told reporters that there were “extreme mitigating circumstances in this case. There was no intent whatsoever to violate the law.”