Looks like time was on Keith Richards' side after all.

It just took a little longer than expected.

The state of Arkansas is preparing to pardon the coconut-wrangling Rolling Stones guitarist for a traffic violation he received more than 31 years ago.

Earlier this month, the state's Parole Board approved a pardon application for the three-decade-old reckless driving charge, with the governor having 30 days to sign the notice and officially clear the rocker's record.

At least in Arkansas.

Richards was arrested July 5, 1975 and cited for reckless driving after cops spotted his car swerving on a road in the town of Fordyce, just outside Little Rock.

Richards was traveling through the southern town with fellow Stone Ron Wood, a security guard and an unidentified fan en route to a Dallas gig.

Despite protestations that his bad driving was caused by a sudden need to adjust the radio knob and had nothing to do with the overwhelming odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, Richards was hauled off to city hall and charged with reckless driving and possession of a concealed knife, though the latter count was later dropped. The accompanying fan was not so lucky and was booked on possession of a controlled substance.

Richards pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor traffic violation and ponied up the requisite $162 fine.

While the pardon may seem entirely meaningless, if not a tad overdue, the incident itself is apparently far from forgotten, at least by Richards.

The guitarist recently made mention of his brief incarceration during a Stones concert in Little Rock, where, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he asked if anyone in the crowd hailed from the town of Fordyce.

"I used to know the chief of police there," he said.

That, apparently, was all it took for Mike Huckabee, Arkansas governor turned frontman for the unfortunately named rock group Capitol Offense, to spring into action.

"Every musician in the world recognizes his talent," Huckabee gushed to the Associated Press.

The politico said he requested the pardon after realizing the rocker's impression of Arkansas "was marred by a misdemeanor traffic stop."

Either that or he was just making a joke.

"I wanted to clear his record in Arkansas as a goodwill gesture," Huckabee said.

The official pardon is just the latest bit of good news to come Richards' way.

Last month, he was given the medical all-clear to resume the group's A Bigger Bang tour. The Stones were forced to postpone the European leg of their road show after Richards injured his head in a fall during a coconut-collecting expedition in Fiji in May.

Barring any more unforeseen tumbles, the rocker has another high-profile gig at the end of the year.

Richards is set to appear in the third and likely final installment of Disney's record-breaking Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as the father of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow.

"I can't wait to see him," costar Orlando Bloom told the BBC earlier this month. "Well--if he doesn't kill himself falling out of coconut trees."

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