Teen pop singer Justin Bieber is the subject of an investigation following his arrest in Florida last month, in which he was charged with drunk driving, drug use, and resisting arrest, along with a handful of miscellaneous charges. Officers stopped Bieber, 19, after he was seen speeding through a neighborhood in Miami in his rental car, along with rapper Crazy Khalil, who had been racing against Bieber in his own car. No one was injured, but drunk driving attorneys in New Jersey say that the celebrity’s arrest highlights the problem of drunk driving across the country, especially when it involves underage drinkers.
Miami police officers chased Bieber down a residential road when they caught the teenager driving 55 to 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. According to the report from the scene, there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from Bieber’s rented Lamborghini when police pulled him over. During the stop, the teen’s movements were slow and exaggerated, suggesting higher levels of intoxication. He got a little belligerent with the officers who stopped him, questioning their motives, swearing frequently, and refusing to comply with their instructions.
Officers repeatedly warned Bieber not to remove his hands from the hood of the car while they searched for alcohol or other illegal substances in his car and on his person, and finally placed him under arrest when he continued to turn around and confront them. Bieber was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, and charged with drunk driving, resisting arrest, and driving on a suspended licenses. He posted a $2,500 bond, and will face sentencing in the coming months. At the police station, the pop star admitted to drinking that night, taking prescription medications, and smoking marijuana.
Although Bieber’s blood alcohol level was below the legal limit of 0.08 at the time that police officers performed a Breathalyzer test, he failed to pass the sobriety field tests, and the results of his urine sample are pending. Even if the drug test does not show a substantial amount of alcohol in the singer’s system, he is still underage at 19, and legally unable to drink in the United States. The consequences of underage driving differ from state to state, and drunk driving lawyers in New Jersey say that these penalties for teenage drinking are compounded when it is combined with driving.
New Jersey statute 2C:33-15 makes it illegal for persons under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. Anyone underage who has been caught drinking or in possession of beer, wine, hard liquor, or any other alcoholic beverage can be charged with criminal activity and fined up to $500 for a first offense. If the young drinker is caught near or in a motor vehicle, including quads or boats, an underage drinking conviction could also result in a six-month license suspension. Underage drinking charges stay on a teen’s permanent record until expunged, and could negatively affect hiring opportunities, car insurance rates, and future activities.
At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, a New Jersey law firm, our drunk driving lawyers represent anyone who has been charged with a DUI, including anyone under the legal drinking age. If you have an underage DUI charge pending, contact an HCK lawyer for a consultation today.