Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Driving Under the Influence in the Spotlight

At approximately 4:00 am on Thursday, January 23rd, Miami police arrested Justin Bieber for driving under the influence, drag racing, resisting arrest, and driving with a suspended license. The now-infamous ‘Baby’ singer admitted that he had taken prescription drugs, smoked marijuana and consumed alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel of his yellow Lamborghini. He was jailed briefly after a police officer witnessed the alleged drag race.

Drinking and driving, reckless endangerment, and driving with a suspended license are all serious crimes the privileged popstar believes he should not serve time for. CNN reported that Bieber was “cocky” and “insulting” when Miami police tried to give him simple instructions. He was profane and belligerent. Instead of acting remorseful or apologetic, Bieber paraded around the tropics and showboated via social media.

In the state of Florida, there is a legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content. This limit applies to licensed drivers age 21 and up. The legal limit is .02% for all drivers under 21; Bieber is 19. Police disclosed that Bieber failed several sobriety tests including “touch your nose”, “walk in a straight line” and “turn in a circle.” Though Bieber exhibited signs of inebriation, his Breathalyzer test revealed a b.a.c. of .011%.

Florida law also states that “people can be convicted if controlled substances – not just alcohol – impair the driver’s normal faculties”. Bad news for Bieber, traces of THC and Alprazolam were discovered in a urine test conduct by the University of Miami School Of Medicine. Thanks to the technology obsessed society that runs the world, everybody is aware of his dirty laundry.

For most people in a position of power, this type of exposure would be a PR nightmare; however, the infamous Canadian heartthrob does not seem to have a care in the world. Following this scandalous Miami arrest, Bieber was spotted frolicking on the beaches of Panama with friends and his current fling. After being charged with everything ranging from driving under the influence to drag racing, it is not uncommon for celebrities to issue an apology to the public and their fans. Bieber addressed the situation by posting a side by side picture of himself and Michael Jackson with the caption “what more can they say.”

In less than a weeks time Bieber’s arrest has taken over the world: a petition for Bieber’s deportation has been signed by over 100,000 people and a counter petition is gaining popularity, Bieber’s mugshot is one of the most circulated images to date, trending topics like “#drinkanddriveforbieber” “freebieber” and “westillloveyoujustin” have broken records, and he is the punch line of every late night show joke. Some of his largest sponsors, like Proactiv have dropped him citing, “that he just needs to work on himself right now.”

So why is it not game-over for Justin Bieber? For the same reason it is not game over for Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. The media transforms bad press into a big, fat payday. The celebrities benefit from every magazine that their mugshot covers. The unfortunate truth is that the general public thrives on the drama. Justin Bieber has been on the cover of every magazine since the incident last Thursday. For an entire week he has been a topic of interest for both conservative and liberal newspapers, a segment on every news show, and a headline on every social media site.

According to MADD, one in every three drivers will be involved in a drunk driving related accident in their lifetime. In 2012, over 10,000 people died in drunk driving crashes. Celebrity or not, Biber could have killed someone, yet nobody is addressing that. Instead, reporters are focusing on his face in the mugshot and other superficial details. Rather than acknowledging that his behavior could have resulted in tragedy, Bieber is using the media circus to garner as much attention as possible.

Driving under the influence is a serious crime and is punishable by jail-time, up to $50,000 fines, and permanent license suspension in the state of Massachusetts. Even worse than the monetary repercussions, a DUI can result in the loss of a life. Take a cab–the risk is not worth it.

If you or a loved one was recently the victim of a injured by a drunk driver, do not hesitate to solicit the advice of one of the seasoned attorneys at Altman & Altman. Upon initial consultation our attorneys will determine whether you qualify for a personal injury claim and are eligible to collect compensation for your injuries. All initial consultations are completely free and confidential and our attorneys are available around the clock to answer any questions you have pertaining to your case.

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