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Nolte Faces "Date Rape" Drug Charge

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Oct 24, 2002 | 12:00pm EDT

Prosecutors filed two misdemeanor counts Wednesday against Nick Nolte, The Associated Press reports. The charges follow the actor's September arrest in Malibu, Calif., for driving his black Mercedes erratically on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Nolte, 61, has been charged with driving under the influence and use of a controlled substance. Tests indicated the actor had elements of the banned depressant gamma hydroxybutyrate in his system, also known as GHB.

The drug, which comes in different forms including liquid, powder or pill, is also known both as liquid ecstasy and a date rape substance. Like Rohypnol, GHB can lead to loss of consciousness and has a history of being used as a date rape drug.

An arraignment was scheduled Monday in Malibu. If convicted, the two-time Oscar nominee could serve up to six months in jail.

When Nolte was arrested Sept. 11, highway police described him as "drooling" and "completely out of it." After failing a field sobriety test, Nolte was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence. The photographs taken at the police station show the actor wearing a Hawaiian shirt, looking disheveled and bleary-eyed.

On Sept. 14, Nolte checked himself into a Connecticut rehabilitation center. He remains free on $2,500 bail.

In the past, Nolte had a reputation as being a heavy drinker and once described himself as a "functioning drunk." But he reportedly quit alcohol in the mid-1990s and became somewhat of a fitness buff.

Nolte has starred in more than 40 films, including New York Stories, The Prince of Tides, Cape Fear, Lorenzo's Oil and Affliction. He stars as Mr. Banner in Universal Picture's upcoming actioner Hulk, set for release June 6.

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