Justin Bieber: DUI-arrest deal, no felony in cellphone complaint
Justin Bieber, who on Wednesday tweeted simply, “new beginnings,” has gotten some good news in the legal department.
The pop star won’t face a felony charge in a cellphone-snatching incident alleged in May, the L.A. County district attorney’s office told L.A. Now, and has reportedly struck a jail- and probation-free deal related to his January arrest on suspicion of DUI and more in Miami.
The DUI allegation was the juicier one -- it involved a couple of exotic sports cars in a posh neighborhood, produced jail-house video and a big-smile mug shot of the formerly squeaky-clean singer, had him admitting to smoking weed and generated a bit of schadenfreude -- so first things first.
The Biebs was arrested Jan. 23 in Miami on suspicion of DUI, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license. While it was widely reported that he and rapper buddy Khalil Sharieff had been pinched for “drag racing,” he never faced any such charge, even though police originally described the incident that way.
To make those charges go away, Bieber will plead guilty next week to reckless driving, pay a fine and go to anger-management classes, TMZ said Friday, citing law-enforcement sources. It’ll reportedly be the same deal, minus the classes, for 19-year-old Khalil, who with Bieber was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Sticking points in the plea negotiations were the judge’s request that Bieber produce, pay for and star in an anti-drug PSA and prosecutors’ desire that he attend drug and alcohol education classes, according to the website. The pop star’s lawyers successfully argued that the first was inappropriate and the second was unnecessary and would incorrectly suggest their client had a substance-abuse problem.
While tox screening after the arrest had Bieber testing positive for marijuana’s active ingredient (THC) and for the prescription drug alprazolam (generic for the anti-anxiety med Xanax), his blood-alcohol content reportedly came in at 0.014%, far below Florida’s 0.08 percent legal limit for adults and just under its 0.02% limit for minors. Bieber turned 20 in March, so the latter would apply.
Khalil, incidentally, reportedly notched a BAC of zero after his arrest.
A crucial win: Bieber won’t be on probation -- which means he won’t have the opportunity to mess that up, a la Lindsay Lohan. Also, when they’ve done what’s required of them, the men will see the reckless-driving convictions disappear from their records.
As for the other legal mess: In May, Bieber was accused of reaching into a woman’s purse to grab a phone and then struggling with her over it as he accused her of recording him at a batting cage and mini-golf amusement establishment in the Valley. The woman who complained talked first to TMZ and then to the cops.
The L.A. city attorney now gets the cellphone case and will decide if the Biebs will be charged with a misdemeanor, a D.A.'s spokeswoman said Thursday.
The incident was not captured on security video and none of the nine employees who were interviewed during the investigation had seen anything go down, L.A. Now said.
And as for the part of the story where Bieber reportedly made a young fan cry? L.A. Now said that according to the D.A.'s report, she’d been crying before the alleged incident, simply from the excitement of being in her idol’s presence.
Still waiting in the wings, however, is a possible felony vandalism charge related to the January egging of Bieber’s former Calabasas neighbor, which allegedly resulted in $20,000 worth of damage.
Although the singer’s camp has denied any wrongdoing, video surveillance footage allegedly shows “Suspect Bieber” high-fiving friends after eggs were thrown at the house, according to an investigator’s affidavit.
Bieber, of course, soon decided to move out of that neighborhood and head for Atlanta. In March, he sold his 10,000-square-foot pad to reality-TV star Khloe Kardashian, who needed a new place after filing for divorce from Lamar Odom in December.
Your essential guide to the arts in L.A.
Get Carolina A. Miranda's weekly newsletter for what's happening, plus openings, critics' picks and more.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.