If you heard many of the initial reports about the recent Miami Beach arrest of Justin Bieber, you would have thought that the case against him was a slam dunk for the prosecution. Well, it’s not. However, it’s also not is a slam dunk for the defense, as many are starting to report. My assessment, based upon the available reports of the facts and circumstances of the night in question is that Bieber may still be convicted of DUI.
First, it’s important to clear up a number of the erroneously reported facts. Many media outlets initially reported that he was charged with drag racing. While Officer Media did write in the arrest form that Officer Cosner observed two Lamborginis drag racing, with one being driven by Bieber, he wasn’t actually charged with that criminal act. Additionally, many stations reported that Bieber’s blood alcohol content at the time of driving was a .04. If accurate, that would mean that Bieber was double the legal limit for someone under twenty-one years of age, which in Florida is a mere .02. (For those over twenty-one, the legal limit is .08) In reality, we learned at some point after the drama of his arrest, that he only blew a .014 into the Intoxilyzer 8000 breath machine. That would be consistent with one drink, certainly not sufficient to prove that he was impaired due to alcohol consumption.
So with a mere .014 reading, many are asking, “Then how the heck can he be convicted of DUI?” Here’s the analysis. First, it’s important to understand what happened immediately after he provided the low breath sample. The cops involved determined that the level of impairment they observed with Bieber was inconsistent with his low reading. In other words, they believed that Bieber must have been impaired due to something else other than alcohol. Naturally, they suspected drugs. What bolstered their suspicion was that Bieber allegedly admitted at the arrest scene that he had been recently smoking marijuana and also, was taking medication, albeit prescribed. Furthermore, his demeanor and actions both at the scene and the station house served to support their theory. As a result, they did what they always do in a DUI investigation after either a .000 breath reading and/or a low reading, they asked for a urine sample. Allegedly, Bieber provided one. This case hinges, in large part, based upon what toxicologists find in his urine. If marijuana and/or any other controlled substance is found, prosecutors may be able to successfully prosecute him on the theory that he was impaired due to a controlled substance.