The 27-year-old was handed a seven-month suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday after he admitted buying a fake Belgian licence for 15,000 euros (£12,800) and then attempting to swap it for a full UK licence.
Judge James Goss QC said that Tiote's guilty plea persuaded him to suspend the prison term for 18 months and the player was instead asked to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.
Pardew, who has handed Tiote the Newcastle captaincy this season, thinks the Ivorian was caught out by a clash of culture more than anything else.
"There are times when international players come abroad and don't actually understand the rules," he said.
"We try to help them and try to push them in the right manner, the right way, and we'll just make sure he gets the right advice going forward.
"I think it was a misunderstanding."
Pardew is delighted Tiote's season has not been affected by the case and confirmed he would captain the team in the Capital One Cup clash against Manchester City on Wednesday.
"I'm relieved because he's our captain and he's playing the best football he's played for about 12-14 months," said Pardew.
"He's been terrific in the last three games. He will captain the team on Wednesday night."
Sooo... handing over £15K to a dodgy bloke near airport and getting a licence is how they get licences in the Ivory Coast is it? Misunderstanding my arse!- FairyNuff