MIAMI BEACH, Florida (Reuters)
— Teen pop star Justin
Bieber's tumultuous life off-stage landed him in jail for the first
time on Thursday when police arrested the singer for drunk driving
after he was caught drag racing on a main Miami Beach street in a
The 19-year-old Canadian initially resisted arrest, cursed at
police officers and later told them he had consumed alcohol, pot
and prescription drugs, police said. Then, changing his
demeanor, he grew cooperative and even smiled for his mug shot,
coiffed hair perfectly in place.
Dressed in a red prison suit, a silent Bieber heard the charges
via video link: driving under the influence, resisting arrest
without violence and driving on an expired Georgia license.
A judge set bail at $2,500 and released the "Boyfriend" singer.
If convicted, Bieber could face jail time of up to six months,
although experts say he will likely get off with a lighter
sentence for his first offense.
Bieber's arrest is his most serious run-in with the law during a
year in which his problems have ranged from allegations of
speeding through his gated community near Los Angeles to a
felony investigation into whether he pelted a neighbor's house
His once meteoric career has also showed signs of distress. A
year ago, he became the youngest artist with five No. 1 albums,
but in March he collapsed on a London stage and in December
hinted he might be ready to retire after releasing a compilation
album and a film about his life.
Just after 4 a.m. EST on Thursday, officers observed Bieber's
yellow Lamborghini alongside another driver in a red Ferrari
accelerate from a stop position on a four-lane road in a
residential area just a few blocks from the South Beach tourist
district, Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez said.
Two SUVs had blocked off the road so the singer could race a
friend who was driving the rented Ferrari, police said.
Bieber was driving the sports car 55 to 60 miles per hour (88 to
96 km per hour) in a 30-mile-per-hour zone, Miami Beach police
spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez said.
"WHY DID YOU STOP ME?"
The singer was "a little belligerent, using some choice words,"
when arrested, Martinez said, but he grew cooperative at the
In the arrest report, an officer said Bieber had bloodshot eyes
and alcohol on his breath. The singer told police he was
returning from a studio recording session and repeatedly asked
why he had been stopped and arrested.
"Why did you stop me?" he asked, according to the report. "Why
do you have to search me?"
Bieber later acknowledged that he had taken
prescription medicine, had been smoking marijuana and had consumed
alcohol, Martinez said.
Representatives for Bieber and his mother, Pattie Mallette, said
they had no comment about his arrest.
His friend, identified as R&B singer Khalil Sharieff,
was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. His bail
was set at $1,000.
High-powered criminal defense attorney Roy Black, who also has
represented radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, actor Kelsey Grammer
and Kennedy family member William Kennedy Smith, appeared in court
on behalf of both men.
"This hopefully will proceed as any other case," Black said after
'THE CHAOS HE IS LIVING IN'
The police department in the Florida city of Opa-locka is
investigating whether two of its officers gave Bieber an
unauthorized escort on Monday night after his private jet landed at
the local airport, said city spokesman David Chiverton.
He confirmed the city also was looking into whether officers
escorted Bieber to the King of Diamonds strip club in Miami Gardens.
"We're investigating whether our police department escorted him
there," said Chiverton. "You can have fun in Miami, but not too much
Bieber was later released and escorted from jail by
correctional officers. Wearing a hoodie and dark sunglasses, Bieber
climbed on top of a waiting SUV to wave to fans.
The teen and children's idol, who has had nearly 50 million
followers on Twitter, risks running afoul of his fans' parents. And
even his hardcore supporters recognize he may have entered dangerous
"The rough times he is going through, all of his fans have to be
here to support him," said Salynn Chiong, 20, as she watched Bieber
She hoped he goes into rehab "and takes a break from the chaos he is
(Additional reporting by David Adams,
Ben Gruber, Eric Kelsey and Zachary Cook; writing by Colleen Jenkins
and Mary Milliken; editing by Gunna Dickson)