Gerard Depardieu Detained After Scooter Crash

Gerard Depardieu has been ordered to appear in court on December 13 to face a drink-driving charge after crashing his scooter in Paris.

The 63-year-old reportedly fell off his vehicle in the chic 17th district of the Right Bank, slightly injuring his elbow. No one else was hurt in the accident.

When police arrived at the scene and tested him, he was found to have a blood alcohol level of 1.8 grammes per litre, well above the French limit for driving of 0.5.

The court summons came a day after Depardieu was arrested and taken to a police station. The actor was released on Thursday evening.

Judicial sources said Depardieu has admitted the offence and no one was hurt in the accident, making it likely he will escape with a fine and penalty points under an accelerated judgement process.

The judge, who theoretically could send France's best-known actor to prison for up to two months, may take Depardieu's recent record into account.

The star of films such as Green Card is one of France's best-loved actors, but he has had several run-ins with the law in the past.

In 1998, he crashed his motorcycle when his blood alcohol level was five times over the legal limit, escaping with leg and facial injuries.

Last year he was removed from a flight from Paris to Dublin after urinating in the aisle of the plane before take-off.

In August, a motorist claimed the star hit him during a row that started after Depardieu's scooter and the man's car collided in Paris.

Depardieu overcame a speech impediment before forging his film career, during which he has been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1990 film Cyrano De Bergerac and has also appeared in the Asterix series.

Earlier this month, a report in a Belgian newspaper stoked rumours in France that Depardieu is to quit his native country for tax reasons.

Le Soir reported that he had bought a house in the Belgian village of Nechin, just over the border from France and where many French tax exiles live.

The newspaper said Depardieu had visited the nearby town of Estaimpus to sign a purchase agreement for the property.

According to France's Le Point magazine, 27% of Nechin's inhabitants are French, many of them wealthy.