An underage driver getting himself arrested for drunk driving seldom makes national headlines. However, most underage drivers aren’t internationally known pop stars like Justin Bieber. Bieber, 19, was arrested in Miami earlier this week after cops say he and another driver were drag racing on a downtown residential street early Thursday morning.
Bieber was arrested and processed at a Miami jail and released on $2,500 bond. The arrest was made after Bieber was verbally abusive towards the police officer, failed a series of field sobriety tests and then failed a Breathalyzer test. The whole affair represents a glaring example of how not to conduct yourself when pulled over by a cop.
The night first began to go wrong after cops say that they saw a yellow Lamborghini racing a red Ferrari down a street near Miami Beach. Two black SUVs were blocking traffic at the time, an attempt to create a clear road for the two sports cars to race on. When officers clocked the drivers, they were going 60 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone.
Bieber was pulled over and began handling the situation badly right off the bat. The officer says that Bieber’s first words were belligerent and uncooperative. A tape of the encounter has since been released which shows Bieber repeatedly hurling obscenities at the police officer and arguing with virtually every request made by the officer.
After his obnoxious behavior, officers say they noticed Bieber had a flushed face, bloodshot eyes and smelled strongly of alcohol. Bieber then failed to properly perform a series of field sobriety tests, leading to the officer putting him in handcuffs. Once they had arrived at the police station, Bieber submitted to a Breathalyzer test and was found to have a BAC of 0.04 percent.
At this point you might be wondering how someone with a 0.04 percent BAC could be arrested for drunk driving. In Florida, the law says that drivers under 21 years old are considered impaired if they are found with a BAC of 0.02 or greater. Had Bieber been over 21 the limit would have risen to 0.08 percent and he would have avoided seeing the inside of a jail cell.
The case raises an interesting issue given Bieber’s age. At 19, it is illegal for Bieber to consume any alcohol and it is also unlawful for anyone to serve or permit an underage person to consume alcoholic beverages. Many are wondering where Bieber got ahold of the alcohol that night, with some reports mentioning that his father may have supplied the booze and others noting that Bieber spent hours at a popular Miami nightclub prior to the drag racing incident.
Experts note that in Florida a person who supplies alcohol to an underage person faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge. In that state it is possible that adults can claim as a defense that they did not know the person was underage, however, it is unlikely this defense would be successful given the notoriety of the young singer.
Police in Miami have said that they believe a crime has occurred beyond Bieber’s own irresponsible actions and that they intend to fully investigate the incident. Officers have made clear that they intend to look for those who were responsible for giving Bieber the alcohol, thus compounding the already serious legal trouble faced by Bieber and his entourage.
Source: “Justin Bieber arrested on drunken driving, resisting arrest charges,” by Alan Duke, published at CNN.com.