Nick Nolte's Drug Driving Plea Delayed

10/29/2002 at 01:00 PM EST

Malibu Judge Lawrence Mira has postponed Nick Nolte's plea on charges of driving under the influence of drugs in order to allow the actor's lawyers to test blood samples, the Associated Press reports.

His new arraignment hearing is set for Dec. 5.

The "Prince of Tides" star, 61, was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway last month after police allegedly observed his Mercedes SUV swerving across the road into the path of oncoming traffic.

He has been charged with two misdemeanors of driving under the influence of GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate), more commonly known as the "date-rape" drug.

Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse Monday, Nolte attorney Mark Werksman said: "He was not under the influence of a date-rape drug. That's ridiculous ... Nick Nolte is not out there popping illicit or narcotic drugs."

He added that the actor was now "doing fine" at home and looking forward to the release of his new movies. (Nolte will be seen next year in "Hulk," based on "The Incredible Hulk," and early last month he attended the Toronto Film Festival to promote his latest film, "The Good Thief.")

Nolte, who was not at Monday's hearing, has been told by Judge Mira that he can remain free if he abstains from alcohol, agrees to random drug testing and does not drive.

Immediately following his arrest, Nolte checked himself into Connecticut's Silver Hill Hospital, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility that has also reportedly treated Mariah Carey, Billy Joel and Liza Minnelli.

Meanwhile, a photo of a bedraggled-looking Nolte, attending a gallery opening in downtown Los Angeles's art district, appeared in Saturday's New York Post.

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