Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard about Justin Bieber’s run-in with the law. The pop star supreme faces multiple charges including DUI, resisting arrest without violence, and driving with an expired driver’s license greater than six months. All three charges are misdemeanors, so prison is not an option; however, he could face county jail time if convicted, though it is not likely due to his lack of criminal history.
So what is next? Despite his celebrity status, there are a few things that we can count on happening in Bieber’s cases:
1. The arrest report will be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review (if you would like to see the actual report, click on the following link: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/01/entertainment/bieber-arrest-affidavit/?hpt=hp_t1).
A typical arrest report contains pertinent facts including police observations, a list of tangible evidence, and any statements made, like Bieber’s question to the cops, “What the f*** did I do?”. If there are no glaring legal issues with the charges, and the State Attorney believes they have a reasonable expectation of successful prosecution, they will file formal charges.
2. Assuming charges are filed, Bieber will be notified by the clerk of court of his arraignment date.
An arraignment is the official start of a criminal case. It is at this time that a defendant can enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
3. Bieber’s attorney will file a notice of appearance, a plea of not guilty, and demand for discovery.
All the above are standard documents filed by a defense attorney in a criminal case. The notice of appearance anounces to the court, clerk of court, and State Attorney that a defendant is represented by counsel. A plea of not guilty is a formal entry into the record that the Defendant denies the charges. Discovery refers to all evidence that the State Attorney has in their possession regarding the charges against the defendant. Typically, all evidence must be turned over to the defense attorney within 15 days; however, there are exceptions, and it may take longer.
4. Bieber’s attorney will review the evidence and analyze strengths, weaknesses, and the potential need for motions.
It is at this juncture that the rubber meets the road. Bieber will be presented with the evidence by his attorney, along with advice for going forward. Ultimately, the decision on how to proceed will be made by Bieber.
Based on the number of variables, if is difficult to predict where the case will be headed after the fourth stage. Bieber could change his plea to guilty or no contest. If a plea offer is reached with the State Attorney, all or some of the charges could be dismissed based on a successful motion by the defense, or it could be set for trial. Whatever the outcome is, it should be an interesting ride. Be on the lookout for our update as the case proceeds.
For information on this issue or other legal matters, do not hesitate to contact the Tampa attorneys at Anton Castro Law. To learn more about Tampa DUI law or to hire an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer, contact John S. Castro.