By COLLEEN LONG
The bong-tossing case against Amanda Bynes will be dismissed if the actress stays out of trouble for six months and goes to counseling twice a week, a judge ruled Friday.
Bynes was charged in New York City last spring with reckless endangerment and marijuana possession after building managers called police because they said she was smoking pot in the lobby of her Manhattan apartment. When officers entered her 36th-floor apartment, they said they saw her heave a bong out the window.
The 27-year-old “Hairspray” star later appeared in court in a disheveled blond wig and said she didn’t do anything wrong. It was one episode in a string of erratic incidents involving Bynes last year. She was institutionalized in August after authorities said she set a small fire in the driveway of a home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Her mother, Lynn Bynes, was granted a temporary conservatorship over the actress, but the case was dismissed because Amanda Bynes’ care was being overseen by a mental health court.
A Manhattan judge allowed the adjournment in contemplation of dismissal Friday, which means the actress does not have to admit guilt. She must attend counseling twice a week for six months and cannot be re-arrested or the deal is revoked.
Bynes didn’t appear in court. An affidavit filed on her behalf by attorney Gerald Shargel said she understood the agreement.
The actress left an inpatient mental health treatment facility in California in December and is currently with her parents. Her California attorney said she is considering returning to school to study fashion design.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bynes was one of the hottest actors on children’s TV.
Beginning in 2000, she won four consecutive Kids’ Choice Awards for best television actress, the first for her role in the ensemble kids comedy-variety show “All That,” and the others for her own variety program, “The Amanda Show.” She went on to star in the TV series “What I Like About You” and appeared in several films including “Big Fat Liar,” “What A Girl Wants” and “She’s the Man.”
Bynes also starred in several TV movies before her career began to decline.