Justin Bieber has reportedly been offered a tougher than tough plea deal in his Miami DUI case, in which he previously pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, resisting arrest without violence, and driving with an expired license.
A trial date of March 3 has already been canceled by presiding Judge William Altfield while he reviews custodial jail footage of the singer at Miami Beach police station. This includes his urination into a cup for a drug test which would eventually reveal marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax were present in Bieber’s system at the time of his arrest, after allegedly drag racing with co-arrestee Khalil Sharieff on January 23.
Citing law enforcement sources, TMZ reports Florida’s Miami-Dade State Attorney has laid out a high stakes plea deal with one option being an unspecified jail term. The other, a set of invasive conditions the 19-year-old must comply with if accepted.
The site says prosecutors are prepared to drop the DUI and resisting arrest without violence charges.
However, in return Bieber would reportedly have to plead no contest to reckless driving, sign off on 40 hours of community service, and attend an alcohol education course, as well as a “victim impact panel” – which involves relatives of DUI victims talking about the affect of such events.
In addition, the site claims Bieber would have to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he drives for a total of three months.
The mechanism is also known as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device and is installed on a motor vehicle dashboard. Before a vehicle can be be started, the driver has to first exhale into the device. If the breath-alcohol concentration produced is greater than a preset blood alcohol concentration, the device stops the engine from starting.
Even after the vehicle starts, the device prompts random breath tests in order to ensure the same driver who gave the initial sample is still driving the vehicle. If a sample is not produced or exceeds the allowed blood alcohol level, the device logs it, warns the driver then starts up an alarm — lights flashing, horn honking — until the ignition is turned off, or a clean breath sample has been provided.
The plea deal conditions don’t stop there.
If Justin accepts this he would have to advise the court of travel plans so that officials could arrange random testing at these locations. It’s further claimed this would be done at Justin’s expense and the testing would last between 6 and 9 months.
If Bieber and his lawyers take these terms – and more crucially – the singer passes the drug tests, the reduced plea would reportedly be formally entered onto the books.
The $64 million dollar question is: will Bieber accept the stringent deal or chance a trial where the endgame could be jail?
That said, should the case go to trial it would represent Bieber’s first criminal offence, and some leniency would normally be expected.
Previous reports allege significant discrepancies in police statements about the speed he and Sharieff were driving at before they were stopped and their actual speed. Recently it was reported there are serious credibility issues hanging over one of the arresting officers.
Noting the above, it’s not certain a jail sentence would be likely.
But, for Justin, refusing the reported plea deal and going to trial is a big risk in a jury trial, given the current anti-Bieber sentiment in the US which could well seep into the court. How could it not?
Bizarrely, despite a rash of DUI’s in celebrity land, including recent offenders soul singer Miguel, David Cassidy, Washington Redskins’ Fred Davis and Chris Kattan, the degree of Bieber’s fame has led to heightened interest and anomalies in how he is being treated.
The public records request of news media organizations to see Bieber urinating — a highly personal, intimate act — that offers nothing to the furtherance of the case but a teenager’s humiliation and wouldn’t be considered if the defendant was a female or wasn’t a celebrity, is a case in point.
Bieber’s lawyers went head to head with media attorneys in a Thursday hearing after their motion to block the release of the jail videos on the basis that showing the singer urinating and revealing “intimate parts” of his body and in “various state of undress” breaches his privacy rights. The judge will make a decision regarding release or continued sealing after his review.
As for the reported plea deal, the question of what Bieber and his legal team — led by the famed Roy Black — will decide is an intriguing one.
What would you opt for if it were you in the frame?