A look at Justin Bieber's Drug Recognition Evaluation after So Fla arrest
Updated On: Feb 01 2014 05:00:00 PM EST
On Friday, Local 10 was given its first look at the actual citations Miami Beach police gave Justin Bieber on the early January morning when his joyride ended in jail time. They include a ticket for DUI pending urine test.
Local 10's Christina Vazquez also obtained the pop star's Drug Recognition Evaluation. The evaluation was performed after the breathalyzer and after the DUI test. It evaluates the possible effects of drugs.
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Viewers may recall that according to Bieber's own admissions, he smoked weed and took prescription pills before his arrest. His toxicology report revealed he tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana and Xanax.
The issue at stake has been if they were in his system in enough quantity to actually impair his driving.
That makes the Drug Recognition Evaluation crucial to Bieber's case, given that his blood alcohol concentration was below the limit set in statute for underage drivers.
The Drug Recognition Evaluation tests if a "person is under the influence of a controlled substance," explained former federal and state prosecutor David Weinstein.
"It is very significant in this case because when they conducted the blood alcohol test on him, he didn't blow anything that is in violation either of the zero tolerance or of the regular laws that relate to anyone who was driving under the influence," said Weinstein. "So they are not going to be able to say he was driving under the influence of alcohol, but it's not DUA, it is DUI. It's driving under the influence. So, what are they going to argue he was under the influence of? They are going to argue he was under the influence of a controlled substance."
Analysts said expect both sides to call a Drug Recognition Evaluation expert to interpret whether it proves Bieber was impaired at the time he was driving.
The report indicates the "faint" smell of marijuana on Bieber's breath, and that when asked by officers if he was sick or injured, Bieber replied, "feel like I got a cold coming on."
"While there appears to be signs that he did recently use marijuana," said criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh, "the issue is whether they can show from this drug recognition report that he was impaired at the time. I think they have a challenge."
Eiglarsh said Bieber performed pretty well during his Drug Recognition Evaluation.
"For example, look at the walk and turn test. At no time are they alleging that he actually stepped off the line or failed to touch head to toe, not on any of the steps forward or any of the steps back. He did that perfectly, that never happens," said Eiglarsh. "Also typically on a walk and turn test you have someone who steps off the line. At no time did he ever step off the line. He is supposedly so impaired that he can't drive an automobile yet at no time does he ever stop off the line. On the finger-to-nose test the goal is to put your finger to your nose. Every single one of the six attempts he nails the tip of his nose. I've been prosecuting and/or defending DUI cases for over two decades, I'm shocked to see how well he did on these exercises. These exercises are not easy at all for anyone. When you take someone who is supposed to be impaired they typically would not perform this well."
Weinstein believes the state will argue that the Drug Recognition Evaluation happened more than two hours after police pulled the pop star over. He anticipates prosectors will interview witnesses that saw Bieber closer to the time he was pulled over.
"I think the [Drug Recognition Evaluation] test shows that he performed much better than when he performed the DUI test," said Weinstein.
Weinstein argues in addition to the passage of time, Bieber's good DRE performance could also be because Bieber already had a chance to run through similar exercises during the DUI test, where he did not perform as well. The DUI test showed missteps in the walk and turn test and difficulty balancing.
"He's a 19-year-old young man who is a professional entertainer and dancer. He's already been shown what the routine is, he knows exactly what dance steps he needs to perform," said Weinstein. "How many times do you think Justin Bieber rehearses before he goes out and performs a dance? So now he knows what his routine is going to be. It is two hours later, he's had a chance for his head to clear. The key becomes was he impaired at 4 o'clock in the morning when he was behind the wheel of the Lamborghini, and can the state prove that to six jurors beyond a reasonable doubt?"
"I think at best law enforcement and prosecutors can show that he may be guilty of DUI," said Eiglarsh, "at worst probably guilty, but that's not enough. It has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This report, which is the crux of their case, seems to suggest they don't have the proof."