MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — When he debuted five years ago, Justin Bieber was a mop-haired heartthrob, clean cut and charming. But some recent troubling incidents have put his innocent image at risk, and none more so than his arrest on DUI charges Thursday.
Police say they arrested a bleary-eyed Bieber — smelling of alcohol — after officers saw him drag-racing before dawn on a palm-lined residential street, his yellow Lamborghini traveling at nearly twice the speed limit.
The 19-year-old Canadian singer later admitted smoking marijuana, drinking and taking a prescription medication, police say. Unlike previous episodes, this arrest has him facing potential jail time.
Bieber was charged with DUI, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest without violence.
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He was arrested with R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff, after police say they raced two luxury vehicles down the street at 4:09 a.m., with two other vehicles apparently being used to block the area.
Police Chief Ray Martinez said the singer was initially not cooperative when the officer pulled him over. Martinez said the singer also had an expired Georgia driver’s license.
Police said Bieber was driving the Lamborghini and Sharieff was driving a Ferrari. Both cars were towed. Police say Bieber was clocked at 55 to 60 mph in a 30 mph zone near a high school, youth center, golf course, city firehouse and small apartment buildings.
According to the arrest report, Bieber “had slow deliberate movements” and appeared to be in a stupor when the officer ordered him to exit his vehicle. Bieber was arrested after repeatedly refusing to put his hands on his vehicle so the officer could pat him down to look for weapons, the report said. It says he cursed several times at the officer and demanded to know why he was being arrested.
Bieber failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Miami Beach police station for a Breathalyzer, police said.
“I think this case will proceed hopefully as any other case would proceed,” said Bieber’s attorney, Roy Black.
Under Florida law, people younger than 21 are considered driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or more — a level the 5-foot-9, 140-pound star could reach with one drink.
A Miami-Dade County judge set Bieber’s bond at $2,500 on Thursday afternoon. Sharieff’s bond was set at $1,000 for a DUI charge. Bieber’s father Jeremy Boeber was on the scene Thursday
Bieber left jail about an hour after court, popping through a window of his black SUV in a black hoodie and sunglasses to wave to crowds waiting to see him.
Bieber has been accused of wrongdoing in California but has never been arrested or charged. He is now under investigation in a felony vandalism case after a neighbor reported the pop star threw eggs at his house and caused damage.
Despite all his legal troubles, the charges against Bieber likely won’t put him at risk of being deported or denied entry into the U.S., said immigration attorney Ira Kurzban.
According to U.S. immigration law, authorities generally do not revoke an individual’s visa unless the person has been convicted of a violent crime or has been sentenced to more than one year imprisonment.