Bell, from St. Paul, Ont., was charged last month with felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence.
According to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office, Bell's blood-alcohol level was higher than 0.15 when he rear-ended a pickup truck in an early-morning accident in Milpitas, a town in the San Jose foothills, and then walked a short distance from the scene.
Bell, who is due back in court on Feb. 21, faces a maximum of three years and eight months in prison.
At the time of the accident, Bell hadn't played for the Sharks, who acquired him from Chicago in a three-team trade over the summer. Bell has been a disappointment in San Jose, managing just five goals and three assists in 36 games while leading the club with 50 penalty minutes.