Justin Bieber won't do hard time for his arrest early Thursday morning (January 23) in Miami Beach on suspicion of DUI and driving on an expired license .
That's the good news. But the Ontario, Canada, native, who was also hit with charges of resisting arrest after failing to comply with the arresting officer's orders during the 4 a.m. traffic stop, is facing a number of sanctions in the incident.
At press time Bieber had been released on $2,500 bond and had not commented on the arrest.
Bieber Headed To The Big House?
"You're normally looking at six months of probation, a $250 fine, license suspension and enrollment in a DUI course," said Ft. Lauderdale-based DUI attorney Ken Padowitz, a former Florida homicide prosecutor who was speaking to MTV News about the state's DUI laws with no firsthand knowledge of the Bieber case.
Padowitz said the DUI, resisting arrest and suspended license charges are all misdemeanors which each carry a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail. "But in all likelihood he is not likely to get any jail time at all," he said.
A first DUI offense carries a maximum of six months behind bars and 50 hours of community service, with an automatic six months license suspension. If Bieber gets charged with drag racing, that too carries a maximum of six months in jail, a $500-$1,000 fine and a one-year license suspension.
Florida has a zero-tolerance DUI law when it comes to underage drivers, which sets the legal blood alcohol limit at .02 for drivers under 21. That low threshold means that even one drink could put a driver over the legal limit.
Given that Bieber reportedly told arresting officers that he'd had a few beers, smoked marijuana and taken prescription anti-anxiety medicine in the hours before getting behind the wheel, Padowitz said it's possible that his charging document could note that he was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol at the time of arrest.
The Miami Herald reported that law enforcement sources said Bieber's breathalyzer test did not show significant alcohol impairment. He reportedly blew a .014 and .011, which is well below the legal limit and too low for state authorities to even suspend his license.
Bieber was taken into custody after Miami police said they observed him and friend rapper Khalil drag racing in a residential community while a number of black SUVs blocked off traffic for them. The paper said a police source described the 19-year-old singer failing a field sobriety test "miserably" and later agreeing to another breathalyzer test and blood scan while in custody.
Bieber was not initially charged for drag racing, but Padowitz said it's possible that an additional misdemeanor charge of reckless driving could be added by the state attorney when the singer is formally charged. "He could face a year on each charge if he's found guilty, but that's extremely unlikely," Padowitz said.
Not Leaving Anytime Soon
While a number of media outlets have speculated the Bieber's recent egg-related felony charges in Los Angeles and the Miami bust could result in the Canadian singer being deported, the Associated Press said that is unlikely.
U.S. immigration law does not allow for a person's visa to be revoked unless they've been convicted of a violent crime described as a "crime of moral turpitude," which include things like assault with intent to kill, aggravated DUI, spousal abuse or robbery, or if you've been sentenced to more than one year in prison.
DUI and driving without a license do not make an individual eligible for deportation.