Bet you never thought that you would read a story about Justin Bieber on this website.
Then again, it is a DUI blog. And the young pop star is being accused of driving under the influence in Florida. But an article in the online publication The Daily Beast is instructive about how a DUI arrest is completely different from a conviction.
The article opines that Bieber should not take a plea deal on three charges (misdemeanor DUI plus driving without a license and resisting arrest) because the sentence being offered is pretty much the same it would be if the singer were convicted of DUI in court. The author goes on to point out some apparent flaws in the state's case, both regarding the probable cause for the initial traffic stop. Some reports had claimed that Bieber's Lamborghini was traveling over 130 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood, but GPS data indicates that the car could have been going only 27 mph - which casts doubt on the officer's probable cause to stop Bieber in the first place.
Moreover, the officer stated in his report that he detected an odor of alcohol on Bieber's breath. But subsequent blood alcohol tests revealed a maximum reading of .014. Not only is that well below Florida's legal limit of .08, but that amount is practically impossible to detect by smell alone. (Tests also showed that Bieber had ingested drugs, but that evidence could be suppressed if probable cause is rejected.)
Finally, it has been revealed that the officer which arrested Bieber has 15 citations of misconduct on his record. That creates a significant credibility problem for the prosecutors - which may be enough to obtain reasonable doubt from a jury.
It's important to note that this case is illustrative of many similar situations that arise with DUI arrests here in Washington. And while Bieber's wealth puts him in a better position to engage legal counsel to defend him, the issues can be raised in anyone's case if the circumstances warrant.
In other words, you don't have to be a millionaire pop star to beat a DUI charge.