MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — On the heels of controversy over a vandalism case, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has been arrested after police say he drag raced on a Miami Beach street in a yellow Lamborghini and failed a sobriety test early Thursday.
Miami Beach police confirmed the 19-year-old singer’s arrest in a tweet from the department’s official account.
Officers saw two cars racing at 4:09 a.m. Thursday, with two vehicles apparently used to block the area off, Miami Dade-Police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Hernandez told WSVN in South Florida. He says the second car was a red Ferrari, and that driver was also arrested. Both cars were towed.
Bieber failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Miami Beach police station for a Breathalyzer and processing, Hernandez said. Bieber will be transported to the Miami-Dade County jail, Hernandez said.
An email seeking comment from publicist Melissa Victor was not immediately returned.
The street where police say Bieber was racing is a palm-tree-lined residential area in mid-Miami Beach. Along one side of the street are small apartment buildings, and on the other side are a high school, a youth centre, a golf course and a city firehouse.
Under Florida law, people under the age of 21 are considered driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content of .02 per cent or more – a level he could reach with one drink. For 21 and over, it is .08 per cent.
For a first DUI offence, there is no minimum sentence and a maximum of six months, a fine of $250 to $500, and 50 hours of community service. For anyone under 21, there is an automatic six-month license suspension.
First offence of a drag-racing offence nets a sentence of up to six months, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and a one-year license suspension.
Earlier this month, officials said that detectives in California searched Bieber’s home looking for surveillance footage that might serve as evidence the pop star was involved in an egg-tossing vandalism case that caused thousands of dollars in damage to a neighbour’s home. Officials said Bieber was at the home and co-operated with authorities
In that case, authorities arrested one member of Bieber’s entourage on suspicion of drug possession: Lil Za, a rapper whose real name is Xavier Smith.
After being taken to jail, Smith had felony vandalism added to his potential charges and was released on bail at about 8:15 p.m.
The singer lives in a gated community in Calabasas, a celebrity enclave about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Previous investigations into Bieber’s conduct by the sheriff’s department have not resulted in charges.
In October, prosecutors declined to charge Bieber after a neighbour complained he drove recklessly through the area. Prosecutors in November 2012 also declined to charge the singer after a paparazzo accused him of punching and hitting him after leaving a Calabasas movie theatre.
Bieber was only 15 when his platinum-selling debut “My World” was released. The singer from Stratford, Ont., had placed second in a local singing contest two years earlier and began posting performances on YouTube, according to his official website.
The videos caught the attention of a talent agent who helped Bieber land an audition with R&B singer Usher. Usher, along with Island/Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid, signed him to a recording contract.