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Pop star Justin Bieber exits jail after DUI arrest

Arrest unlikely to hurt Bieber's immigration status

By Curt Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23 2014 1:04 p.m. MST

Bieber has been accused of wrongdoing in California, but has never been arrested or charged. He is currently under investigation in a felony vandalism case after a neighbor reported the pop star threw eggs at his house and caused thousands of dollars of damage.

A neighbor had previously accused Bieber of spitting in his face, and a paparazzo called deputies after he said Bieber kicked him, but prosecutors declined to file charges in either instance. He was also accused of reckless driving in his neighborhood, but in October prosecutors refused to seek charges because it was unclear whether Bieber was driving.

His arrest in Miami is unlikely to affect the current investigation, which included nearly a dozen detectives searching Bieber's home last week searching for video surveillance and other evidence that could be used to pursue a vandalism charge.

Bieber is also being sued by a former bodyguard who says the singer repeatedly berated him, hit him in the chest and owes him more than $420,000 in overtime and other wages. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Los Angeles next month.

Under Florida law, people under the age of 21 are considered driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content of .02 percent or more — a level Bieber could reach with one drink.

For a first DUI offense, 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.

A first conviction for drag racing carries a sentence of up to six months, a fine of $500 to $1,000 and a one-year license suspension.

Bieber's arrival in Florida earlier this week also is under investigation. Authorities in the suburban Miami city of Opa-locka are investigating whether the singer was given a police escort when he landed Monday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport.

"The escort was unauthorized by police administration," Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said.

Police escorts from the airport are not uncommon, but they must follow procedure because they involve city vehicles, Chiverton said.

"There's a procedure," Chiverton said. "These things must be approved, there's a process."

The Florida arrest likely won't affect Bieber's immigration status.

According to U.S. immigration law, authorities do not revoke an individual's visa unless the person has been convicted of a violent crime or been sentenced to more than one year imprisonment.

Immigration attorney Ira Kurzban says neither driving under the influence nor driving without a license can make an individual eligible for deportation. Nor would either of those offenses keep Bieber from being readmitted into the U.S.

"He's not subject to deportation because of a DUI offense," said Kurzban, "nor is driving with an expired license a deportable offense."

Associated Press writers Jennifer Kay and Suzette Laboy in Miami, Tony Winton in Miami Beach and Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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