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Nick Nolte's camp hopes a legal gambit Monday will help turn the tide for the Prince of Tides star who has recently been swept up in a bizarre set of drug charges.

The 61-year-old actor was supposed to be in court this morning to enter his plea to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

But at the behest of Nolte's defense team, the judge postponed the arraignment until December 5 to give the actor's attorneys time to do their own tests on the actor's blood sample.

Seems Nolte's crew is taking issue with what the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office claims is the influential substance. The D.A. says the actor was jacked up on GHB, a date-rape drug also known as Liquid Ecstasy. Team Nolte says no way.

"He was not under the influence of a date-rape drug. That's ridiculous," defense attorney Mark Werksman said outside court. "Nick Nolte is not out there popping illicit or narcotic drugs."

The California Highway Patrol pulled over the two-time Oscar nominee last month, after he was spotted swerving across the lanes of the Pacific Coast Highway in his black Mercedes-Benz. He failed a field sobriety test and was booked on DUI charges. His blood was also screened for intoxicants, and that screen is what turned up the alleged GHB. No other substances were found in his system.

As expected, Nolte was a no-show at Monday's court date. After a powwow between the prosecution and the defense, Malibu Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira said Nolte can remain free until his pending trial if he promises to abide by certain conditions, including random drug tests, treatment in a substance-abuse program, no driving until his license suspension ends and abstinence from alcohol and drugs.

So far, Nolte, once a self-proclaimed "functioning drunk," seems to be making efforts at rehabilitation. Just three days after his arrest, he checked himself into the celeb-friendly Silver Hill clinic in Connecticut. While he was there, his publicist Paul Bloch said Nolte planned to "receive advice and counsel that he feels he needs at this time."

According to Werksman, the star of films like 1998's Affliction and 1991's Cape Fear is now back on the West Coast.

"He's doing fine. He's back home in Malibu where he's working and looking forward to the release of several new pictures," said the lawyer.

Nolte has several films on the horizon, including a turn as Bruce Banner's father, Dr. David Banner, in The Hulk and the lead in the indie dramas The Good Thief and Beautiful Country.