L to R, T to B. Courtesy of Craig County Sheriff's Office / DeKalb County Police Department / Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department / Dark Horse Press Now / Chatham County Sheriff Department
Sadly, it should be acknowledged that alcohol often plays a role when arrests occur in the realm of country music. While some of these mug shots of well-known country stars were taken after more serious offenses, none led to extended prison sentences.
Keep reading for a list of 15+ heartbreaking mugshots of some of your favorite country music artists.
Chris Young was arrested at a bar in Nashville “after he allegedly engaged officers while they assisted in a compliance check at a bar in Midtown Nashville.” Young was arrested after the altercation and was charged with disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer, and resisting arrest on January 22, 2024.
Zach Bryan faced arrest in Vinita, Oklahoma, on September 7, 2023, and was booked on an obstruction of investigation charge. The booking photo was captured at the Craig County Jail before he posted bail.
Bryan, who had recently achieved the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 chart with his self-titled album, issued an apology on Twitter for the incident that led to his arrest.
On September 9, 2021, just after 4 a.m., Rascal Flatts’ guitarist Joe Don Rooney faced a DUI charge when the vehicle he was driving crashed into a tree line in Franklin, Tennessee. A spokesperson from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident.
Following the crash, Rooney was booked into the Williamson County Jail, where he took this mugshot. On the same day, he secured his release with a $2,500 bond. As a consequence, he lost his driver’s license and admitted guilt. Rooney served two days in jail, with the remaining sentence of 11 months and 27 days suspended.
Morgan Wallen was arrested on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct following an incident at Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk on Lower Broadway in Nashville. Security guards had to remove him from the establishment around 11 p.m., due to his disorderly behavior, which included kicking glass items inside. Despite officers giving Wallen multiple opportunities to leave with his friends, he adamantly refused. Police noted a strong odor of alcohol emanating from him, expressing concern for his safety and the safety of others.
Wallen publicly addressed the incident with humility and remorse, acknowledging his actions and expressing a commitment to personal growth within the public eye.
Sam Hunt faced arrest in Nashville on November 21, 2019, for driving under the influence. Police observed him swerving and driving the wrong way down the road. They reported that he smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. During the encounter, Hunt handed them a passport and a credit card instead of his ID.
Hunt later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI charges and was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days in jail, with all but 48 hours suspended. He was also required to complete an alcohol safety course, lost his license for a year, and had to have an interlock installed in his vehicle upon reinstatement.
On Aug. 21, 2018, Gretchen Wilson landed behind bars after an incident on an airplane. When authorities interviewed the singer on the jetway at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport after her flight landed, she “became belligerent” and “caused a disturbance.” She was arrested and booked by Connecticut State Police.
The following month, a judge dropped the charge — misdemeanor breach of peace — after Wilson actively engaged with legal proceedings and cooperated with authorities. She also donated $500 to a fund for injured crime victims.
Billy Currington faced legal issues in April 2013 when he was arrested in Georgia. A grand jury indicted him on charges of making terroristic threats and abuse of an elder person. Reportedly, he became agitated when a 70-year-old tour captain piloted his riverboat near the singer’s dock. In response, Currington allegedly pursued the man by jumping into his own boat and chasing him down.
Eventually, he pleaded no contest to the charge of abusing an elderly person. The court sentenced him to five years of probation, a $1,000 fine, and mandatory anger management counseling.
Randy Travis faced an arrest for public intoxication on February 6, 2012, when police found him holding an open bottle of wine while parked in front of a church in Sanger, Texas. A few months later, he pleaded no contest, paid a $264 fine, and was placed on a 90-day deferred, or probationary, status.
He faced arrest again by Texas police on August 7, 2012, after he was found unclothed and smelling of alcohol following an accident. Travis drove his 1998 Pontiac Trans Am off the side of a two-lane highway near Tioga, Texas, striking several barricades in a construction zone.
He was charged with driving while intoxicated and felony retaliation because he allegedly threatened to fatally shoot highway patrol troopers who responded to a concerned caller reporting “a man lying in the roadway.”
Travis later pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and received two years of probation, a 180-day suspended jail sentence, and a $2,000 fine.
In November 2011, Rodney Atkins faced a tumultuous turn of events as he was arrested and charged with domestic assault. Shockingly, his wife, Tammy, accused the singer of attempting to smother her with a pillow, along with gripping her by the face and forcefully throwing her down the hallway. However, by early February 2012, the charges were cleared, and Atkins’ record was removed.
This outcome followed his successful completion of assessments for anger management and alcohol and drug use. During the assessments, it was revealed that Tammy Atkins had previously recanted her statements, casting doubts on the credibility of the domestic assault allegations.
Willie Nelson faced arrest on November 26, 2010, when authorities discovered six ounces of marijuana on his tour bus at a checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas, as reported by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Nelson later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and paid a $500 fine in connection with this incident.
In March 2006, Hank Williams Jr. found himself entangled in controversy when a waitress in Memphis, Tennessee, accused him of lifting her off the ground in a chokehold following a request for a kiss. The country singer’s publicist countered by alleging that the woman demanded an “outlandish amount of money” and only reported the incident to the police after Williams Jr. refused to settle. Despite the heated allegations, the case was ultimately dismissed in early 2007 due to a notable lack of supporting evidence.
Later investigations into the waitress’s claims revealed inconsistencies in her account, further contributing to the dismissal of the case.
On February 16, 2005, Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, faced an arrest on an assault charge for allegedly hitting a DJ at an adult entertainment club. Upon leaving the Criminal Justice Center after posting a $3,000 bond, the music star stated, “Everything is wonderful. It was a beautiful night.”
He later pleaded no contest to criminal assault, receiving a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days in jail. Additionally, he was ordered to complete eight hours of anger management classes and pay $180 to replace the DJ’s broken glasses.
Rock was arrested again after a show in DeKalb County, Georgia, when he and his crew were involved in a fight outside a Waffle House. He was charged with simple battery, faced a $1,000 fine, and was required to perform 80 hours of community service as a result.
In November 2003, Wynonna Judd found herself in legal trouble when she was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. She was apprehended for speeding, and during the traffic stop, the police officer noted her dilated pupils, watery eyes, and the distinct smell of alcohol. To add to the gravity of the situation, Wynonna’s breathalyzer test revealed a blood alcohol concentration of nearly .16, surpassing the legal limit of .08 at that time.
After her arrest, Wynonna publicly acknowledged the incident and used it as a catalyst for her commitment to sobriety. She actively engaged in rehabilitation and became an advocate for responsible drinking, utilizing her personal experience to raise awareness about the consequences of impaired driving.
In November 2003, Glen Campbell faced charges of drunk driving and hit-and-run. He crashed his BMW into another vehicle and hastily departed the scene, leaving a trail of legal repercussions. Upon police intervention, the scent of alcohol on Campbell’s breath heightened the severity of the situation. During the booking process, he kneed an officer in the leg, resulting in an additional charge of aggravated assault on a police officer. In a turn of events, Campbell eventually pleaded guilty to extreme DUI and leaving the scene of an accident, leading to a consequential 10-day jail sentence.
Following his stint in jail, Campbell publicly acknowledged the impact of his actions and actively participated in alcohol rehabilitation programs. Campbell subsequently used this experience to advocate for responsible drinking and the importance of seeking help for alcohol-related issues.
Johnny Cash faced two arrests. The first arrest occurred after a trip to Mexico in 1965 when he attempted to conceal 1,163 Dexedrine and Equanil tablets in his guitar case while crossing the border near El Paso, Texas. He received a 30-day suspended sentence and paid a $1,000 fine.
In 1966, Cash was arrested again in Starkville, Mississippi, for an unusual reason – picking flowers late at night. The property owner pressed trespassing charges, leading Johnny to spend time in the Starkville County Jail. This incident inspired the song “Starkville City Jail.”
Amidst the diverse array of charges, a shared theme emerges – the complex relationship between stardom, personal struggles, and the public eye. These mugshots not only stand as reminders of human vulnerability but also as affirmations of the strength exhibited by artists as they navigate the highs and lows of their exceptional lives.
Darius Rucker, Hootie & the Blowfish frontman and country star, was arrested Thursday, February 1, 2024, on minor drug charges. Rucker faces charges of simple possession, casual exchange and violation of registration law. This is a developing story.