Thanks a successful court-ordered stint in rehab, a Riverside County, California, judge on Friday officially cleared the once-troubled actor of drug charges stemming from his infamous November 2000 arrest in a Palm Springs hotel room.
Despite objections from prosecutors, Superior Court Judge Randall White agreed to end Downey's probation after the 37-year-old actor successfully completed a one-year drug rehab program.
The decision came during a 90-minute hearing in which Riverside County Deputy District Attorney asked the judge to extend Downey's probation for another six months for "aftercare treatment." White, however, said he was pleased with Downey's probation reports, and the judge--by now, well acquainted with the star--wished Downey "good luck."
Sporting a blue, pin-striped suit, Downey signed autographs outside the courthouse and told reporters Friday that the reckless days of Hollywood are fading away.
"[Hollywood] is not like that anymore," he said, according to Reuters. "It's a lot more strait-laced and they're not interested in people who are not going to show up and be healthy."
The Oscar-nominated actor was sentenced last July to three years' probation after pleading no contest to felony cocaine possession and a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence.
He was arrested on Thanksgiving weekend in 2000 after police, answering an anonymous 911 call, searched his room at the Merv Griffin Resort and found cocaine and Diazepam pills. (Charges related to the prescription drug were later dropped.)
The Palm Springs arrest marked the first of several run-ins with the law Downey experienced following his release from Corcoran State Prison in 2000. Despite returning to work and landing a high-profile role on Ally McBeal, Downey relapsed and was arrested again in Culver City in April 2001.
The bust led to his dismissal from the Fox series--but not before it scored him a Golden Globe award and an Emmy nomination. His courtroom trouble also cost him several jobs, including a role in the Julia Roberts film America's Sweethearts.
With the exception of a one-day shoot on Elton John's "I Want Love" video, Downey had remained out of the spotlight and in rehab. In a progress hearing last November, Downey reiterated to Judge White that he was committed to finishing his recovery and fulfilling the rest of his probation requirements.
Downey's lawyer said the actor is remaining in treatment, despite getting back to work. He just recently completed shooting on The Singing Detective, his first feature-film role since 2000's Wonder Boys.