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Musician arrested after Hoffman's death avoids jail

Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The GenArt Quaker Good Energy Lodge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 19, 2014. (Victoria Will)
Philip Seymour Hoffman's friend who was arrested after the actor's overdose death avoided jail time on Thursday by pleading guilty to a low-level drug charge.

Robert Vineberg, 58, pleaded guilty to drug possession and was ordered to serve five years of probation, continue drug treatment and forfeit $1,284 seized from his Manhattan home.

Prosecutors dropped a more serious drug charge - possessing 300 packets of heroin with the intent to sell - because of issues with evidence. A hearing revealed two detectives did not read Vineberg his Miranda Rights before he made statements.

If he had been convicted of that charge, Vineberg, from Canada, could have served jail time and may have been deported.

Vineberg was arrested after Hoffman died on Feb. 2 from a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs. He was never charged with having a role in the actor's death.

Vineberg, a jazz musician, has previously said he and Hoffman were friends, but had lately lost touch.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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entertainment famous deaths court case celebrity New York
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