How Many Times Was Jim Morrison Arrested?

The Doors weren't just a band that was at the forefront of the psychedelic rock explosion of the mid-to-late '60s. Led by charismatic frontman Jim Morrison, the Los Angeles-based four-piece act was the band your parents warned you about, what with the sly drug references they baked into their music, their ban from "The Ed Sullivan Show," and Morrison's infamously potty mouth. If you were a kid growing up in the 1960s, you certainly didn't want your parents walking in while you were listening to Morrison dropping the F-bomb repeatedly toward the end (no pun intended) of "The End."

However, there was another reason why Morrison may have been seen as a clear and present danger to the youth, and it went far beyond lyrics such as "she gets high" and "girl, we couldn't get much higher," or the aforementioned rapid-fire swearing on record. Although he was only 27 when he died in 1971, Morrison had quite the arrest record for a rock star from his era. But how many times was he arrested, and what did he do to find himself in hot water with the law?

Morrison was arrested six times, first as a college student

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Jim Morrison was arrested a total of six times, starting with his September 28, 1963, arrest for disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and petty larceny. The then-19-year-old Morrison, who was attending Florida State University at the time, already loved getting a rise out of people while inebriated, as evidenced by how he consumed a "fair amount of wine" and proceeded to heckle the fans and the players alike during a football game at his school's Doak Campbell Stadium. After the cops were called to the stadium, Morrison made like your typical Florida Man and stole an umbrella and an officer's helmet while trying to avoid getting caught.

The would-be Lizard King racked up his second arrest on January 23, 1966, a few months after he graduated from UCLA's film school and formed the Doors with classmate Ray Manzarek. However, it was another UCLA classmate, Phil O'Leno, who was at the center of this particular legal issue. After Morrison and a third individual, Felix Venable, returned from a road trip without O'Leno, Morrison started bragging about supposedly killing and burying his missing friend. It was at that point that O'Leno's father went to the police, and during the ensuing investigation, it was found that Morrison allegedly kissed a 14-year-old girl without permission. Morrison was then arrested and charged with sexual assault and also interrogated about O'Leno's disappearance, though the charges were dropped after it was found that O'Leno had gone to Arizona and was alive and well after all.

Arrests No. 3 and 4: Trolling authority and even more drunken escapades

On December 10, 1967, during a Doors concert at New Haven, Connecticut, Jim Morrison was arrested after a testy incident with a police officer who caught him making out with a woman in a shower stall, maced him when he refused to leave the stall, and apologized after realizing he had just maced one of America's biggest rock stars. Far from being mollified, Morrison verbally abused the officer during the instrumental break of "Back Door Man" (via Please Kill Me), triggering a riot as cops charged the stage and tried to arrest the frontman. He was then charged with inciting a riot, indecency, and public obscenity, the latter charge arising because Jimbo was doing Jimbo things onstage, i.e. using the F-word while ranting about the police.

Just about a month and a half had passed since the New Haven fiasco when Morrison racked up his fourth arrest. On January 28, 1968, Morrison and a friend, writer Robert Grover, were drinking at a Las Vegas nightclub when an intoxicated Lizard King provoked a security guard by smoking his cigarette like a joint. The guard was not amused, and when Morrison incited him even further, he was clubbed in the head for his troubles; he and Grover were both booked for public drunkenness and disturbing the peace, with Morrison allegedly swearing at the cops outside the club and at the police station.

The Miami incident and one final arrest in L.A.

Out of Jim Morrison's six arrests, the fifth one was, by far, the most notorious of them all. As the Doors played a show at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium on March 1, 1969, Morrison started yet another one of his instrumental break rants while the band was performing "Five to One." Calling the audience a "bunch of f***ing idiots" for starters, the singer went on to goad his fans repeatedly during the extended rant. What happened soon after is a bit of a blur; while there are several recordings of Morrison freaking out after half-heartedly singing the first few lines of "Touch Me," some accounts of the concert allege that he pretended to pleasure himself as his onstage tantrum continued. Others claim he actually went as far as to expose himself to the audience (via Ultimate Classic Rock). 

Either way, a warrant was issued, and in April, Morrison turned himself in. More than a year later, he was found guilty of public exposure and profanity and sentenced to six months in prison, though he appealed the conviction and was allowed to remain a free man for the time being. Tragically, he died in Paris on July 3, 1971, and it was only in 2010 — a good 41 years after the Miami show — when he was posthumously pardoned.

Technically, Morrison's last arrest before his death — and the one with the least fanfare — took place on August 4, 1970, after he fell asleep on the porch of a Los Angeles home. The owner called the police after she was unable to wake the singer up, and all he had to do was pay $25 bail before he was released.