Courts

No jail for Justin Bieber as he cops plea in Miami Beach careless-driving case

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Seven months after he zoomed his flashy rented Lamborghini down a South Beach street only to be pulled over by the cops, Justin Bieber avoided a conviction for driving under the influence.

But that didn’t stop a Miami-Dade judge on Tuesday from delivering a stern message to a pop star whose juvenile antics have drawn headlines around the world.

“He needs to be cognizant that there are many young persons living under the influence — and he is the influence,” County Judge Bill Altfield told Bieber’s lawyers. “He is the one they look up to as a role model. He has so much going for him.”

The 20-year-old Bieber — who is on probation in California for egging his neighbor’s home — did not have to appear in court on Wednesday to plead guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest without violence. But his lawyers insisted they would pass along the judge’s message to the Biebs.

“We’ll make sure and turn this to a positive experience for everyone and everyone that is a fan of Justin Bieber,” said lawyer Howard Srebnick, who represented the singer along with Mark Shapiro and Roy Black.

Tuesday’s plea concludes perhaps the most-watched South Florida celebrity DUI case in recent years.

As part of the plea deal, Bieber will attend a 12-hour anger-management course — private classes, because anything else would morph into a media-and-fan frenzy that would be distracting to other participants.

He also will have to view online videos that depict the stories of real-life, tragic DUI cases. The singer also will pay court fines and has already cut a $50,000 charity check to Our Kids, according to the plea deal worked out by prosecutors David Gilbert and Juan Perez.

The money will go for services to help victims of human trafficking.

Bieber won’t have to spend any time behind bars or undergo any drug testing.

On Jan. 23, Miami Beach police arrested Bieber and buddy Khalil Sharieff after they allegedly drag-raced down Pine Tree Drive, which had been blocked off by the star’s security team.

Bieber was behind the wheel of a high-octane, yellow Lamborghini after days of partying and recording music in South Florida.

When he was stopped by police, Bieber unleashed a barrage of f-bombs, police said.

According to Beach cops, the pop star admitted to smoking marijuana and taking prescription medication. A urine analysis showed he tested positive for marijuana and Xanax.

But the evidence against him was never overwhelming — in police surveillance videos, he did not appear staggeringly intoxicated, and his blood-alcohol level was well below the legal limit.

“The strengths and weaknesses of the case motivated everyone to seek this appropriate resolution,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “The ultimate purpose of the Miami Beach Police Department’s initial traffic stop was to end some rash juvenile-type conduct before a tragedy occurred.”

Sharieff took a similar plea deal.

The South Beach conviction adds to Bieber’s rap sheet. Last month, Bieber pleaded no contest to egging and vandalizing his neighbor’s house in suburban Los Angeles. He was placed on two years of probation and was required to take anger-management classes, perform community service and pay restitution to the neighbor.

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