Bell's blood-alcohol level was "0.15 or more" when his car rear-ended a pickup truck waiting at a stop sign, according to a statement from the Santa Clara County district attorney's office. Bell, who will be arraigned Jan. 3, faces a maximum of three years and eight months in prison.
Bell hadn't yet played a game for the Sharks when police were called to the scene of the two-car accident in Milpitas, a town in the San Jose foothills.
A 2003 Toyota sedan hit a Datsun pickup, leaving the truck's 40-year-old driver with head injuries and cuts. Officers arrested Bell a short distance from the accident scene.
The Sharks acquired Bell in an off-season trade with the Chicago Blackhawks to play on the left side of their top line with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo. But the power forward has been a disappointment so far, scoring just five goals in 25 games while struggling with injuries.