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Actor Richard Dreyfuss may escape a felony drug possession...

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Actor Richard Dreyfuss may escape a felony drug possession trial if the award-winning actor is accepted in a drug-diversion program.

Municipal Court Judge Andrew Weisz granted a defense request made during a preliminary hearing Thursday that gives Dreyfuss a chance for an interview with the county Probation Department to decide if he is eligible for the program.

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'It's an option open to the defendant,' Deputy District Attorney Sharon Liebherr said of the drug-diversion program. 'It will be up to the court whether or not he will, in fact, place Mr. Dreyfuss on diversion.

'If he will not be allowed to go on diversion, then criminal proceedings will be reinstated.'

The actor, free on $2,000 bail, was ordered back to court March 3 for a hearing on probation officials' findings.

Dreyfuss, 34, was arrested Oct. 11 after he lost control of his Mercedes-Benz convertible and it overturned, slamming into a palm tree.

He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where hospital workers allegedly found in his clothes 0.7 grams of cocaine and 31 tablets of the pain-killer Percodan.

Although briefly hospitalized, Dreyfuss was not hurt.

Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar for his role in 'The Goodbye Girl' and starred in the films 'Jaws' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' dodged reporters by leaving the courtroom through a rear entrance.

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