The Canadian singer could have all the charges dropped if he pleads no contest to reckless driving.
Justin Bieber’s long rumored plea deal in his Miami Beach DUI case is reportedly close to agreement.
Citing sources familiar to the case, TMZ reports Miami prosecutors are backing off all three charges – namely, driving without influence, resisting arrest without violence and driving with an expired license – and are now hammering out a plea deal with Bieber’s lawyers.
In exchange, Bieber would have plead no contest to reckless driving.
In short, all three charges against the 20-year-old superstar will reportedly be dropped.
The gossip site states prosecutors are no longer demanding that Bieber submits to random drug testing, adding that the singer’s lawyers would never have agreed to that condition.
After Bieber’s arrest on suspicion of DUI on January 23 while driving a rented Lamborghini in a residential street during an alleged drag race, a urine sample was taken from the singer at Miami Beach police station.
A toxicology report revealed Bieber tested positive for the active ingredient of marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax as present in his system at the time of his arrest.
TMZ adds Bieber will not escape all sanction in the DUI case but will reportedly be placed on one year’s probation, during which time he will have to behave and refrain from getting into any kind of trouble. It’s likely he would also receive a nominal fine for the reckless driving charge.
The plea deal could reportedly be agreed in a matter of days.
Earlier this month, Bieber’s lead criminal defense attorney, Roy Black, told Radar Online:
“The state has not offered any plea deal. The judge asked in court yesterday if an offer had been extended and the prosecutor said no. All I can say is that the case is set for trial and we are preparing for it.”
However, it now seems the state of play in the case has changed. The reasons for this may be many.
Chief among them is that despite Bieber’s constant presence in headlines, he is still a first-time offender of a suspected DUI. Like many other states, Miami offers a DUI Diversionary Program to such offenders.
The terms of these programs involve a combination of random drug testing for between six to nine months, around $1,000 in fines and fees, completion of 40 hours of community service, an alcohol education class, and a 3-hour victim impact session in which 11 experiences are shared by relatives and a quiz is taken by the defendant in which a score of 100 percent is mandatory.
Any violations of probation – such as failing a drug test – can result in jail time.
If, as reported, Black’s legal team are on the verge of negotiating a probation deal without a random drug testing component it will likely be a relief to Bieber.
[Note: Tweets added several hours after this report published.]
— Rosh Lowe (@rloweon7) April 2, 2014
Sources -there are issues with probable cause. Discussions- charges dropped from DUI to reckless driving. State won’t comment @wsvn
— Rosh Lowe (@rloweon7) April 2, 2014
Other reasons for a possible plea deal may be the reported weaknesses in the DUI case, reportedly such as “probable cause” but also others.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported Miami Beach Police documents revealed Bieber told officers during his sobriety test at the station that he was having trouble walking the line due to a hairline fracture in his right foot, from a skateboarding injury three months earlier.
In addition, statements made by arresting officers in a police report and later at the station regarding smelling alcohol on Bieber’s breath were not supported by two Breathalyzer tests which showed Bieber’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.011 and 0.014.
Both values are below Florida’s 0.02 legal limit for drivers under 21, albeit the singer is still underage.
In the same report Bieber is quoted as saying telling police officers he was not drag racing before he was stopped along with co-arrestee, R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff, who drove a red Ferrari.
TMZ previously reported GPS tracking in the exotic cars showed they were traveling at 27 mph when police spotted them, despite statements from one of the arresting officers that the cars were going at approximately 55-60 mph.
Back in February it was also reported by the site that a history of misconduct hung over one of the arresting police officers, in addition to discrepancies in the police report.
It remains to be seen if and when the reported plea deal is finally inked, or if the singer is still heading into a May 5 trial.