Mel Gibson will not go to jail over his January 2010 altercation with OKSANA GRIGORIEVA.

The 55-year-old actor has struck a deal and will plead no contest to simple battery in a Los Angeles court on Friday (12.03.11), a lesser charge than corporal injury on a spouse, which he was originally facing.

The case relates to an incident between Mel and his former lover, Russian singer Oksana - with whom he has a 17-month old daughter, Lucia - on January 6 2010.

Mel had previously said in a written declaration he slapped her during an argument because she was hysterical, but denies hitting her.

The 'Braveheart' actor's sentence will see him undergo counselling and possibly probation.

While Mel - who has seven other children with his ex-wife Robyn - felt he was in a strong position to win the case, his lawyer, Blair Berk, said he accepted the plea deal to escape the pressure of a long court fight.

Blair said in a statement: "I know from almost 20 years as a criminal defense lawyer that sometimes Justice can come for a client at too high a personal price.

"That is particularly so for Mel, whose right to due process can only be exercised in this case with an enormous media circus attached.

"Mel's priority through all of this has been that the best interests of his young daughter Lucia and the rest of his children be put first in any decisions made. It is with only that in mind that he asked me to approach the District Attorney with a proposal that would bring all of this to an immediate end."

Mel and Oksana, 41, are still involved in a bitter custody battle over Lucia, and the actor currently also has a pending extortion case against his ex-girlfriend, alleging she asked for $15 million to keep audio tapes of him ranting and seemingly making threats under wraps.