Written By Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Lyle B. Mazin
At this point everyone knows Justin Bieber was arrested on January 23,
2014 in Miami. So what actually happened and what is likely going to happen
to the Bieber.
What Happened to Bieber
According to the police report, Bieber was arrested for the following charges:
1) Driving Under the Influence
2) Resisting Arrest without Violence
3) Driving on an Expired Driver License
Read the actual Arrest Affidavit by clicking HERE
The arrest affidavit states, in short, that Bieber appeared to be drag
racing his vehicle. His yellow Lamborghini was speeding along side a red
Lamborghini at 55-60 MPH in a 30 MPH Zone. An officer pulled Bieber over.
Upon making contact with Bieber he noticed Bieber had the smell of alcohol
emanating from his breath, bloodshot eyes, slow deliberate movements and
a stupor look on his face. The Officer ordered Bieber to exit the vehicle.
Bieber, using foul language such as "why the fuck are you doing this?"
and "what the fuck did I do", continuously asked why he was
being detained. As Bieber exited the vehicle he kept going into his pants
pocket. The officer ordered Bieber to face away from him and place his
hands on his vehicle so that he may, for officer safety, do a pat-down
for weapons or contraband. Bieber continued to use foul language and would
take his hands off of the vehicle to turn around and say things to the
officer such as "I ain't got no fucking weapons, why do you have
to search me." The officer advised Bieber if he continued to take
his hands off the vehicle he would be arrested. Bieber continued and the
officer arrested him. While placing him in handcuffs Bieber resisted by
pulling his right hand away. Bieber was arrested and taken to the police
station where he was asked to perform Field Sobriety Exercises. Bieber
did not perform the exercises to standard. He took a breath test and a
According to the Miami Herald and CBS Miami his Breath results were .014
and .011. No report has been generated yet for his drug evaluation results.
What Will Likely Happen to Bieber
Bieber Will Not Be Deported
Canada can have the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stand down. It is highly
unlikely Bieber will be deported. In 2004, in the case of
Leocal v. Ashcroft (click HERE to read the case), the United States Supreme Court ruled that DUI's are not deportable
offenses. Further, only under extraordinary circumstances and the showing
that the crime was one of moral turpitude would a person be deported for
the crime of Resisting Arrest Without Violence. Finally, the United States
does not initiate deportation proceedings for the crime of Driving With
an Expired Driver License.
Most importantly, all the charges against Bieber will likely end in a dismissal
Resisting Arrest Without Violence Charge
First off, it is not exactly clear which of Bieber's actions resulted
in his arrest for Resisting Without Violence. If his charge stems from
the taking of his hands off the car and using profanity during the officers
attempt to do a pat-down for weapons and contraband then that charge won't
hold up against a stiff wind. In order to be arrested for Resisting Arrest
Without Violence an officer must be engaged in a lawful duty. The officer
was NOT lawful in his attempt to pat-down Bieber. The Third District Court
of Appeal, which is the appeals court for Miami-Dade County, has held
that an officer must have reasonable suspicion for believing a suspect
is armed with a dangerous weapon before he may pat-down the individual
for officer safety. In the case of
State v Herron (Click HERE to read the case), the court held that a person acting excruciatingly nervous and fidgety
is insufficient to justify a pat-down without the officer being able to
further articulate why he believes the suspect is armed with a dangerous
weapon. It can be argued that Bieber sticking his hands in his pocket
is concerning but it fails to articulate why he is believed to be armed.
Further, recall the officer stated Bieber was acting "slow and deliberate"
(standard law enforcement jargon used to substantiate why they believe
a person is under the influence of alcohol) and not violently or erratically.
The officer can't have it both ways. He was not making threats but
rather voicing a very legitimate question "I ain't got no fucking
weapons, why do you have to search me." If it is the profanity that
disturbed the officer then he should refer to the First Amendment.
If he was being arrested because he was resisting the pat-down then his
subsequent resisting of pulling his arm away was lawful in that the officers
attempt to arrest him was unlawful (see above) and a person may resist
an unlawful arrest without violence.
It is also important to note that Bieber is not under arrest for anything
else at this time. The Officer stated in his sworn affidavit that he advised
Bieber that if he continued to take his hands off of the vehicle he "would
be subject to arrest." The only logical conclusion that can be drawn
is that he was not under arrest at the time. Remember, at this point the
officer only had suspicion Bieber was driving under the influence and
had not yet established probable cause to arrest him. Bieber was never
charged with Drag Racing and the fact he was driving on an expired license
was only learned after his arrest.
Additionally, should this charge survive dismissal and be given to a jury
to decide, Bieber's attorney would adamantly argue that his act of
pulling away his arm as he was cuffed was not intentional but merely a
natural reflex of a person being ambushed by handcuffs. Bieber's Attorney,
Roy Black, Esq., is an exceptional attorney (I know this because I once
served as his research assistant) and I am confident he will hammer that
point home to any potential jury.
Finally, the Miami-Dade Office of The State Attorney offers a diversion
program for this charge. Bieber could always opt not to contest the charge
and participate in a diversion program which if successfully completed
would result in the charge being dismissed.
Driving Under The Influence
The defenses to Driving Under The Influence are extremely vast and I could
proceed to write a book as to Bieber's potential defenses. That said,
I will proceed as if this charge advanced directly to trial and attempt
to focus on the fundamental or obvious weaknesses in the prosecution's
case against him.
There is one thing that every bar in America has and that is parking lot.
It is not illegal to drink and drive. It is illegal to drive when you are
impaired by alcohol or drugs. The officer suspected that Bieber was impaired because
he had bloodshot eyes, slow movements, a stupor look on his face and the
odor of alcohol emanating from his breath. Later law enforcement observed
Bieber perform field sobriety exercises below standard and ultimately
blow a .014 and .011. Lets dissect this:
Blood shot eyes and Slow Movements: Bieber was pulled over at 4am. His bloodshot eyes, were likely due to
the fact it was... 4am. The same logical theory applies to his slow movements.
At 4am a person is tired and their body begins to slow and show the signs
Stupor look on his face: Observe Bieber's Mug shot (see below). That is the best representation
of his appearance on the night of his arrest. There is no "stupor"
look on his face. He looks just like he always looks.. Somewhere between
stupid and super.
- Alcohol emanating from his breath: There is a funny thing about evidence.
If you gather enough of it, it starts to contradict itself. The officer
submits that he smelt the odor of alcohol emanating from Bieber's
mouth. (Note: He specifically states mouth because he has been trained
to articulate it is from the mouth. The alcohol smell cannot be observed
as coming from a suspects clothing as the law is concerned with the alcohol
in the suspect and not on him). At the end of the day Bieber blew as low
as a .011. Unless the officer was trying to kiss the Bieber, he would
have had a better chance of smelling the odor of alcohol from the bar
across the street than from Bieber's mouth.
Performed Field Sobriety Exercises Below Standard: Note that these are not called "tests" but rather exercises.
They are only indicators of impairment and only as reliable as the officer's
subjective observations. As we already discussed above, in reference to
the smell of alcohol from Bieber's breath, the officer's observations
in this case are not very reliable. Further, Bieber was not given an opportunity
to perform these exercises prior to being arrested. Rather, he performed
these exercises under the added exhaustion and stress of having already
been arrested, placed in handcuffs and transported to the police station.
Under all this stress, in addition to being 4am, it's understandable
he didn't stand on one leg very well. Further, that's only assuming
we accept the officer's observation as fact and subjectively correct.
Most importantly, the ability to stand on one leg or count backwards isn't
exactly the best indicator of a person's ability to operate a motor
vehicle. The best indicator of a person's ability to operate a vehicle
is the person's driving pattern. That said, Bieber never hit anyone
or anything. There were no observations that he failed to identify a stop
sign or red light. When the officer attempted to pull him over he did
so without incident. He did not hit a curb or fumble his keys. He placed
the car in park without issue and followed the officers instructions to
exit the vehicle. Bieber was speeding but that simply means one thing....
he was speeding. People speed sober. In fact, Bieber was clearly alert
and oriented as he was coherent and wise enough to understand his constitutional
right to remain free from an unlawful search was being violated. His comprehension
and alertness was evidenced by the fact he continuously questioned the
officer as to why he was attempting to conduct and unlawful search.
Blew a .014 and ,011: At the end of the day the most reliable piece of evidence is the breath
test results. It's scientific. The officers were determined to prove
Bieber was Driving Under the Influence and there was nothing Bieber could
do to convince them otherwise. Except one thing, embrace science. When
asked to submit to a breath test he did so. The results were conclusive:
Justin Bieber was not under the influence of alcohol. In the State of
Florida an adult is considered to be impaired with a BAC of .08 or higher.
For individuals under the age of 21 the legal limit is .02. Being 19 years
of age, Bieber blew half the legal limit for his age group and 1/8 the
legal limit should he have been over the age of 21. That said, the officers
still pushed on in their pursuit to find evidence of wrongdoing and requested
a drug evaluation.
Drug Evaluation: The results of the drug evaluation are unknown and let's hope they
ultimately indicate negative for the presence of drugs. Should the results
indicate positive for the presence of drugs I will discuss the ramifications
in greater detail at that time. However, just to set a general precedence:
Even if the urine should indicate the presence of drugs, most experts
will opine that urine is merely conclusive that drugs "were"
used by the defendant but are not conclusive as to "when," or
more specifically, if the defendant was under the influence of a drug
at the time of the incident. For example, Cocaine. When urine samples
indicate the presence of cocaine they generally include the two byproducts
of cocaine which are Benzoylecgonine and Cocaethylene. These two byproducts
will potentially be present in a subject's urine even if the subject
has not used cocaine for hours or even days. More accurately indicative
of recent use of cocaine is when cocaine itself is found in the urine
in addition to its broken down byproducts. However, experts will testify
that even the presence of cocaine is not conclusive as to its current
effect on the user as urine contains waste product and not necessarily
substances which are currently active in the subjects blood stream.
Finally, as with the previous charge, the Miami-Dade Office of The State
Attorney offers a diversion program for DUI. Bieber could always opt not
to contest the charge and participate in a diversion program which if
successfully completed would result in the charge being dismissed
Driving With An Expired Driver License
This final charge is not much of a concern for Bieber. First, often this
charge is the result of an oversight by Law Enforcement. Many times a
Defendant's driver license is expired in one state but he holds a
valid license in another state. For instance, Bieber's incense was
expired in Georgia but could have an active license in another state or
even have a valid Canadian Driver License. Additionally, the Office of
the State Attorney routinely agrees to dismiss the charge if a defendant
obtains and presents a valid driver license. As a last resort Bieber could
always simply enter a plea of no contest to this charge and receive a
Bieber fans can rejoice as whether it be through pre-trial motions, trial
or a diversion program, Justin Bieber will ultimately return unscathed
by this incident.. That said, Bieber still does have to face his issues
in California and it appears they take egging houses very seriously over there.