Justin Bieber has been arrested for DUI, causing a media firestorm, with many speculating it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.
The teen heartthrob is facing charges of drunken driving, resisting arrest and also driving without a valid license. It’s possible reckless driving charges may also follow, as police reportedly stopped Bieber after they allegedly spotted him drag racing in Miami Beach.
Our D.C. DUI defense lawyers know that Bieber has a couple of things working against him at the moment. Many of those are the same kind of pitfalls to which so many other first-time DUI defendants fall prey.
The first, which he can’t do much about, is his fame. Any allegation of wrongdoing made against him, no matter how weak, would have created an intense media interest. As such, police and prosecutors, not wanting to appear soft on crime, are likely to take a hard line with the star. But this would have been all the more reason for him to more carefully measure his response to the situation.
Specifically, it is alleged that Bieber’s copped a confrontational attitude toward officers who stopped him that night. He reportedly swore at the officer who stopped him shortly before 4 a.m. on a Thursday. In an expletive-laden exchange, the teen reportedly demanded to know, “What the F*** did I do?”
This may (or may not) have been a valid question at the time. However, exchanges of this tone rarely win favor with police. In fact, the officer arresting him described the 19-year-old as “belligerent.”It’s tough to say whether the officer might have let him off with a warning had Bieber been more respectful. But it certainly wouldn’t have hurt. At the very least, Bieber, who the officers said failed to comply with numerous instructions, might have avoided a resisting arrest charge.
This underscores that almost without exception, the best thing to do if you are pulled over is to be as quiet possible. Keep in mind too that being “cooperative” doesn’t mean you have to be talkative. It seems the singer might have confused these two, as he is alleged to have conceded to the arresting officer that he had drank alcohol, smoke marijuana and consumed prescription medication shortly before getting behind the wheel of a borrowed Lamborghini.
This is the kind of evidence that will almost certainly be used against him. There is no indication that the officer would have preformed a drug test on Bieber had he not made this confession, so all this did was give prosecutors a stronger case.
Plus, the more a defendant speaks, the more evidence he or she may be providing to officers. In this case, the arresting officer noted that Bieber’s eyes were bloodshot, his face was flushed (probably attributable at least in part to his growing agitation of the situation) and his breath smelled of alcohol. This will all be used against him in court.
Another mistake Bieber may have made was in submitting to a sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are a subjective determination of intoxication. That is, while they may have a basis in science, they are largely predicated on the potentially flawed and prejudiced observations of the arresting officer. Unlike chemical tests, there are rarely hard-and-fast measurements to prove intoxication. Unless a person is stone-cold sober, these tests rarely serve to help a defendant’s case.
The driver of the vehicle with whom Bieber had been reportedly racing was also arrested for DUI, according to media reports.
If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC at 202-596-5716.