Justin Bieber’s street cred as an outlaw got a boost Thursday after he and a friend were arrested and charged by Miami Beach police with driving while intoxicated following an early morning traffic stop for drag racing.
But the booking photo released by police, showing a smiling, pimply faced Bieber, looked more like a high-school yearbook photo than a mugshot. And while initial reports claimed Bieber and his friend, an aspiring R&B artist named Khalil Sharieff, were drag racing, people on Twitter reacted with disappointment after Miami police revealed that the two singers were driving at approximately 60 miles (96 kilometres) per hour in a 30-mph zone.
Bieber faces three charges arising from the incident: resisting arrest, driving while intoxicated, and using a driver’s licence that had expired more than six months earlier. Sharieff faces a single DUI charge. Neither was charged with drag racing.
Bieber's bond is $1,000 (U.S.) for the DUI, $1,000 for the resisting arrest, and $500 for the expired license.
The pair were arrested early Thursday after a Miami Beach police officer pulled over Bieber’s yellow Lamborghini and found the pop star to have bloodshot eyes and a smell of alcohol about him. The arrest report further notes that Bieber had “a stuper (sic) look on his face. These are all indications of an impaired driver.”
After Bieber reportedly refused to follow the officer’s instructions, he was placed under arrest and transported to a police station, where he failed a standardized field sobriety test. A Miami police spokesman said Bieber admitted to having smoked marijuana and taken prescription medication, all of which may have contributed to his state of impairment.
Sharieff, driving a red Ferrari, was arrested at the same time.
The star was “a little belligerent, using some choice words,” when police arrested him, Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez told reporters, but grew cooperative once at the police station.
Earlier, Miami Dade-Police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Hernandez told WSVN in South Florida that officers saw two cars speeding at 4:09 a.m. ET Thursday.
Two SUVs had blocked the road for the yellow Lamborghini and red Ferrari at this point, added police spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez.
The report says Bieber was immediately aggressive with officers upon being stopped and allegedly yelled, “Why the f—k are you doing this?” and “What the f—k did I do? Why did you stop me?”
The 19-year-old Bieber was placed under arrest after repeatedly refusing to put his hands on his vehicle so the officer could pat him down to look for weapons, the report said. At this point, he is said to have replied, “I ain’t got no f---ing weaons. Why do you have to search me? What the f—k is this about?”
The report says Bieber told the arresting officers that he wasn’t drunk and was returning from a recording session. Several people have already claimed they saw Bieber at a Miami club called SET on Wednesday night.
As for the resisting arrest charge, the report states that before Bieber was patted down by police, he “kept going into his pants pocket.”
When police ordered Bieber to put his hands on the vehicle, the singer initially complied but quickly took his hands off the car, turned toward the police and swore at the officer. One officer then grabbed Bieber’s right arm, to which Bieber responded, “What the f—k are you doing?”
Police said the 19-year-old pop star failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Miami Beach police station for a breath test and processing.
The street where police say Bieber was racing is a palm-tree-lined residential area in mid-Miami Beach. Along one side of the street are small apartment buildings, and on the other side are a high school, a youth centre, a golf course and a city firehouse.
Bieber’s arrival in Florida earlier this week also is under investigation. Authorities in the suburban Miami city of Opa-locka are investigating whether the singer was given a police escort when he landed Monday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport.
“The escort was unauthorized by police administration,” said Assistant City Manager David Chiverton.
At least two marked police cars provided Bieber with an escort from the airport, but it was not clear where they went, Chiverton said.
Police escorts from the airport are not uncommon, but they must follow procedure because they involve city vehicles, Chiverton said.
“We’re still unsure of where it led to,” Chiverton said. There’s a procedure. These things must be approved, there’s a process. They used city vehicles.“
The arrest in Miami is Bieber’s first, despite previous brushes with the law, including reports that he has been stopped three times for speeding but let off with warnings. The incident comes a week after police searched his Calabasas, Calif., home for evidence that he may have been involved in an egg-throwing incident that allegedly caused damage to a neighbour’s house.
Bieber lives under an intense media glare, with little room to act out without making headlines. While he stokes the interest through his own social-media savvy, reaching out to his manic army of Beliebers through channels such as Twitter (where he has almost 49-million followers), he sometimes shows sign of the strain. On Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted: “This is how I get to enjoy the beach,” with a picture of three photographers standing in the surf taking photos of him.
News wires reported that, under Florida law, Bieber, 19, could have exceeded the legal alcohol limit by consuming only one drink, since people under the age of 21 have a blood-alcohol threshold of 0.02 per cent. (The limit for people 21 and older is 0.08.)
A first DUI offence carries a maximum of six months in prison, a fine of $250 (U.S.) to $500, and 50 hours of community service, as well as an automatic six-month license suspension for those under 21.
With reports from Andrew Ryan, Associated Press and Reuters