If you haven’t heard yet: Justin Bieber was arrested early this morning in Florida for DUI. You can find officer Medina’s account in the police report here. According to police, Bieber was observed drag racing his Lamborghini at 4:30 this morning. When Medina stopped him he could immediately smell an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver’s breath. Medina asked Bieber to exit the vehicle for further investigation. Bieber became uncooperative when Medina required him to place his hands on his car to check for weapons and swore at the officer a few times. Medina then arrested Bieber and transported him to the police station.
During transport Bieber asked why he was arrested. The officer stated that he believed Bieber was driving impaired. After arriving at the police station Bieber submitted to field sobriety tests and a breath test. The unofficial report of the BAC was .04.
Justin Bieber is only 19 years old. In Utah, a person who is under the age of 21 is prohibited from driving with any alcohol in their body. If the minor’s BAC is below the DUI limit of .08 then the minor will be charged with Alcohol Restricted Driver (ARD). This will trigger a 1 year driver license suspension and a $1600 fine. Additionally judges usually require the minor to participate in alcohol treatment.
If this case were handled in Utah the government would encounter a few problems. The police arrested Bieber and transported him to the station before having him perform the field sobriety tests. The Worwood case states that an officer doesn’t have probable cause to arrest based only on bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and smell of alcohol. If those characteristics had been combined with failed field sobriety tests, then there probably would have been probable cause. However, the police officers in Worwood transported the suspect, which is a de facto arrest, to do the field sobriety tests, just like the officers did in Bieber’s case. So, without some other source of probable cause, the field sobriety tests, and the breath test may be thrown out. Perhaps his DUI Lawyer will be fortunate enough to find a case like that.