As everyone has now heard, Justin Bieber was arrested for DUI in South Florida. Numerous videos of the incident have come out including a cell phone video and a homeowner’s surveillance camera video. These videos can be seen at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh0MKeZdHNA – driving video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqR_iOXwcz0 – surveillance video
This is a copy of the police report obtained by TMZ. WARNING! The police report contains profanity and strong language!
The police report alleges that Bieber and another person also driving a Lamborghini were drag racing and reached 55-60 miles per hour. The problems with this allegation? The car Justin Bieber was allegedly racing was a Ferrari, not a Lamborghini. The second officer involved was readily able to distinguish between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. This shows that the officer’s observations are suspect and may not be credible. Also, if you look at the video, the two vehicles do not appear to come close to reaching such a high rate of speed. In order to issue a ticket for speeding, police officers are supposed to estimate a vehicle’s speed and then clock the speed using radar or pacing the car using their speedometer. This was never done. If the officer is wrong about these simple observations, what else is the officer wrong about? Does he have a bias against people driving expensive sports cars? Was the officer’s mind made up to stop the cars or request a DUI investigation based on the vehicles alone? What affect did it have once he learned it was Justin Bieber driving?
The police report also indicates there were no problems with Bieber’s driving pattern. He even made a right hand turn with no issues. One of the “cues” or indicators of impairment and officer looks for in a DUI case is problems with the driving pattern. Here there does not appear to be any. This fact could then for the basis for a Motion to Suppress in which a DUI attorney asks the court to throw out evidence of the stop due to the illegal stop by the police. In a DUI case, that would result in ALL the evidence being thrown out of court and the DUI charge and any additional charges would be dismissed.
Once pulled over, there were very few indications that Bieber was impaired. He protested his innocence (with a lot of profanity). He did not slur his words, he did not have trouble exiting the vehicle, Bieber did not need to use the vehicle for support, or lean on the vehicle. These are all indicators that a driver may be under the influence that DUI officers are trained to look for in a DUI arrest. It is not easy to exit and get out of a low-to-the ground sports car, but Bieber apparently did so perfectly. Another problem with the prosecutor’s case.
The next problem is that Bieber was immediately arrested for DUI with NO Field Sobriety Exercises performed on him! The police did not even call a DUI officer to the scene or ask if he would perform Field Sobriety Tests before arresting him. That means he was arrested based on allegedly racing or speeding (does the video bear this out?), having blood shot eyes (up all day and tired? Coming from a smoky environment), a flushed face (because he was angry for being pulled over for no reason?), and the odor of alcohol on his breath (it is not illegal to drink and driver in Florida, it is only illegal if you have so much to drink that it affects the driving). You must not ignore the other facts that indicate Bieber was NOT IMPAIRED when determining whether there was probable cause to make a DUI arrest. The perfect driving, not slurring his words, exiting the vehicle perfectly, not stumbling at the roadside, not swaying at any point in time, protesting his innocence, stopping the car immediately and pulling over the vehicle without any issues. These are factors that bear on probable cause also. Under Florida law, the odor of alcohol alone is insufficient to establish probable cause for arrest. State v. Kliphouse, 771 So.2d 16 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000). So the motion to suppress the stop and have the case dismissed could prove to be very strong in Bieber’s case.
Bieber again protested his innocence at the jail. Bieber was finally asked to submit to Field Sobriety Exercises and he refused. The Field Sobriety Tests are voluntary under Florida law! A suspected impaired driver does not have to do them. Bieber again explained that he was innocent and was not impaired, drunk, or intoxicated so why should he have to do them.
Bieber took the breath test result which came in at allegedly at .011 g/mL and .014 g/mL of alcohol. Breath Test results are NOT reported as a percentage and DO NOT represent the percent of alcohol in a person’s body. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08 g/mL of alchol. This means that Bieber’s breath test result was way BELOW THE LEGAL LIMIT. Not only the legal limit for a DUI case, but even below the legal limit for an underage driver in Florida. The legal limit is 0.08 no matter what your age is in a DUI case. However, the administrative law states that the Dept. Of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will suspend an underage drinker’s license if their breath test level is 0.02 or higher! (Florida Statute Section 322.2616). Bieber was below even this small amount. There will be no administrative suspension of his driving privileges and no need to request a Formal Review because his license will not be immediately suspended by Florida’s DHSMV.
Finally, Bieber was allegedly requested to undergo a drug evaluation. There is no information in the police report to indicate whether the DUI officer who performed the evaluation was a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) or whether Bieber underwent the 12 step protocol for the Drug Influence Examination (DIE). DUI officers are required to get extra training in Driving Under the Influence of Drug cases (DUID). It is illegal to drive while impaired by a controlled substance in Florida. A controlled substance can be a lawfully prescribed medication. Whether the lab analyst will find anything in the urine sample is fact we will learn at a later time.
However, there are a number of issues with the Drug Influence Evaluation. The police need probable cause to request this evaluation. There is nothing to indicate that Bieber was impaired by drugs in this case. Unless Bieber made statements that he was currently taking medications or took some controlled substance, there is no reason to think drugs played any part in this case. In addition, there are number of ways to defend against a DIE. Was the DRE trained properly? Is the officer even a DRE? Did he perform the DIE correctly? Has the DRE kept up with the requisite training to maintain his status as a DRE? Was the drug evaluation videotaped? It does not have to be, but it can lead to valuable evidence in this case. As part of the 12 step protocol, an arrested driver for DUI is asked to perform the Field Sobriety Exercises.
This case has a lot of legal issues and there may be a number of defenses to this DUI charge. Roy Black is a phenomenal criminal defense lawyer and is representing Justin Bieber in his DUI case. I will continue to post about Bieber’s DUI case as we learn more.
If you have been arrested for DUI, retain a DUI attorney that is part of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).
Retain an DUI attorney who is experienced at handling DUI’s and located in Polk county in order to get the best defense and the best result to your driving under the influence case.
DON‘T HESITATE!!! PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS!!!
CALL POLK COUNTY DUI ATTORNEY THOMAS C. GRAJEK NOW !!!
Because you only have 10 days to request a Formal Review or get a hardship license!